Is the U.S. Sports Betting Market Ready for Crypto?

Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis
Sen Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) gestures as she speaks during the Bitcoin 2022 Conference. Marco Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Bitcoin and other major digital currencies have not been embraced, for the most part, by U.S. sports betting operators or the states in which they operate.

But that could be slowly changing, and if so, it portends a future of crypto-friendly sportsbooks in the United States.

CEO of DraftKings Is A Cryptocurrency Fan

The co-founder and CEO of DraftKings, Jason Robins, is a big fan of cryptocurrency and NFTs which is why it is not surprising that his company advocates vehemently for the digital currency revolution.

At some point, Robbins would like to make crypto exchanges as routine as U.S. currency but he knows there are endless hurdles before that happens.

Most people have heard of cryptocurrency but are not adept at using it, nor eager to embrace it, which is one of many stumbling blocks to its mainstream acceptance.

Robins’ Thoughts on Cryptocurrency

Robins believes that the decentralized monetary system needs a bit more centralization and accountability if it is to flourish.

“The types of things [we need] to become mainstream fly directly in the face of decentralization. If you don’t have some sort of centralized control, it’s hard to protect people from themselves,” Robins said on an episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast.

“And I do think there’s a lot of people that are going to be intimidated to say, I can accidentally type in a wrong address and send my $10,000 NFT to somebody and I’m never getting it again… And you need some sort of centralization to manage that.”

Robins further added, “I know the purists won’t like this. But does there need to be some element of centralization that comes in that allows for some of the things that have to happen to make blockchain technology be more applicable to mainstream use cases?”

Wyoming Is a Crypto Pioneer

There are subtle signs that crypto is making inroads in the U.S. sports betting market and one of them is Barstool Sports’ recent rule change that they will now accept crypto deposits in the states of Colorado and Virginia.

And it should also be known that Wyoming, a state that launched sports betting in September of 2021, has detailed in its sports betting legislation that sportsbooks are allowed to accept “digital, crypto and virtual currencies.”

Wyoming Does Not Have the Requisite

David Carpenter, Wyoming Gaming Commission project manager for online sports wagering, is another proponent of cryptocurrency and believes a small state like Wyoming does not have the requisite juice to convince other states to adopt crypto, at least not for now.

“The delay in establishing cryptocurrency as a full method of payment will likely come from the appetite of the operators who haven’t had the opportunity to operate in such a cryptos-friendly market.

It is likely the operators will be hesitant to adopt the payment method until it becomes more widely accepted in larger markets,” Carpenter said.

Wyoming Unique Perspective

Jeff Ifrah, the managing partner at Ifrah Law, applauds Wyoming’s unique perspective, “Wyoming saw an opportunity to become the first friendly crypto state and ran with it. Wyoming is being smart, sort of like South Dakota being first to relax credit card rules in the 1980s.”

Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) have drafted a bill that is aimed at codifying a set of laws regarding the use of blockchain technology as a means of doing business.

Whether this bill eventually makes its way to a committee and then to a vote is a long way away but the fact that U.S. senators are considering it is a good start.