Legalized online sports gambling poised to see explosive growth, presenting an opportunity for identity industry

A new poll from OWI Labs has found that while very few users have engaged in online sports betting thus far, a significant number of Americans are planning to try it within the next year. Because of the age requirements associated with gambling, this could present a huge opportunity for vendors in the identity Verification and Authentication spaces.

OWI Labs, in partnership with Lucid, polled 306 individuals around the U.S. via internet on Thursday with the question “Will you partake in online gambling in the next year?” The question was framed in the context of the recent Supreme Court ruling, which has paved the way for individual states to legalize web-based gambling on sports.

Among respondents, just 1 percent of those polled said they already participate in online gambling. In contrast, 43 percent said yes, they will try online gambling within the next year.

These numbers suggest that internet gambling on sports in America could see a massive spike in interest in the coming months, as states begin to legalize it.

Already, New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada have legalized sports betting on the internet. Bills have passed but not made law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Mississippi, while bills have been proposed in another 15 states.

The minimum age for gambling varies state by state. While some have no age restriction at all, most states require gamblers must be at least 18 years of age, and many only allow participants who are at least 21 years of age.

Beyond the 44 percent who participate in online sports betting or plan to try it within the next year, another 23 percent surveyed online said they are “not sure” whether or not they will participate. Just one-third of those polled via web said no, they would not engage in any online sports betting.

OWI Insight: Online gambling on sports was already big business when it operated in a legal grey area. These survey results suggest it could be an even bigger deal when companies can operate in the sunshine and consumers won’t have questions about the legality of the practice. But gambling is a heavily regulated industry, including age verification of participants. This growth could present a wave of new and lucrative business opportunities for companies who are qualified to securely verify individual identities on the internet. And with a sizable portion of respondents — nearly one-quarter — saying they are unsure about online sports betting, this also presents an opportunity for identity service vendors. Specifically, data protection, data privacy, security, ease of onboarding and tailored experiences could all help convert those on the fence to try their hand in sports betting.