Home Gambling A researcher from Wash. St. talks about black market migration and mobile income

A researcher from Wash. St. talks about black market migration and mobile income


About one in 20 adults in Washington state apparently bets on sports at least once a month.

The nugget was among the information shared at Tuesday’s meeting of the Washington State Gambling Commission, where Acting Director Tina Griffin presented the results of a recent poll. The study was conducted by Dr. Kahlil Philander, an assistant professor at Washington State University’s Everett campus, who appeared by video conference.

The study, which has yet to be published and has been unanimously approved for submission to the state legislature, explored Washingtonians’ attitudes toward sports betting, as well as the potential impact. of its various legal forms on the economy of the State.

At the forefront of the study – and Griffin’s presentation – was a survey of more than 1,000 Washingtonians, only 5% of whom said they bet on sports once a month or more. The remaining 95% said they bet “never / less than once a month”.

Of those who said they bet on sporting events, half said they did so through office pools, the vast majority of which presumably involve the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. A further 27% said they bet through retail sports betting, while 17% said they bet through cellphones or online, and an additional 5% said they bet through private bookmakers.

While “mobile” betting is legal in Washington as long as it is limited to tribal properties, no tribe has started it yet – and only the Snoqualmie tribe has opened a retail bookie. (Washington’s sports betting industry is entirely controlled by Native American tribes, who pay no gambling tax to the state.) Therefore, it’s fair to assume that a good portion of betting in the state of Washington are currently placed outside legal channels.

Technically, these illicit bets include all of those March Madness office pools, which forced WSGC Vice President Julia Patterson to ask Philander how much of that action could be transferred to regulated sports betting now that the state has them. To.

“When we look at the migration to the legal market, a lot of it comes from having a comparable product,” he replied.As there are viable legal alternatives that can effectively substitute for illegal activity, you can expect much of this activity to be transitioned. It’s not obvious to me that something like a March Madness pool would move the same as someone using an offshore bookie.

No “comparable product” in Washington State

“Comparable Product” is something Washington State currently lacks – which only allows mobile onsite, requires in-person registration, and prohibits betting on state colleges – when opposed. to its black market rivals. But Philander’s study looked at what the state market might look like if it moved in a more progressive digital direction – and it will be interesting to see how the state legislature reacts to its findings, short and long. long-term.

It won’t surprise anyone who knows anything about how the legal sports betting markets have performed in the United States since the repeal of PASPA, but if Washington allowed registration and fully mobile betting it would increase. employment growth and gross economic growth exponentially. wins statewide. As for market maturity, Philander predicts Washington State would reach $ 93.8 million in operator revenue with its current mix of retail and on-premise mobiles. But if Washington were to go fully mobile, the study said that figure could reach $ 321.5 million, including $ 42.2 million for retail.

While the WSU study did not cover the impact of the expansion of legal sports betting on problem gambling, Representative Shelley Kloba asked Philander for her personal take on the correlation.

“I think the United States is going through probably the biggest change it has ever seen in terms of normalizing gambling in society and within our culture,” he replied at the meeting. “What has become normative now is that everyone sees advertisements for the game on TV and on social media. … You see all of these important organizations with significant reach now engaging in this betting business. Not only that, but we also find that sports betting is not an end in itself, but also a [path] in the higher margin online game.

“From a compulsive gambling perspective, I think the net impact this could have is unclear,” Philander continued. “If the game also comes out in some ways from the shadows and there is a better understanding of the risks, maybe there will be an adaptation effect where people will start to understand this activity because it is much more present in mind. “