Online betting gets my vote for the Next Big Thing. The ubiquitous TV commercials may indicate that it’s already here, but the industry is actually still in its infancy. The American Gaming Association reports that sports-betting revenues—both online and in what are called the sportsbook sections of brick-and-mortar casinos—increased 436% for the first seven months of 2021 compared with the same period a year earlier and 539% over 2019. But the total came to just $2.1 billion, compared with the $150 billion that the AGA estimates is bet illegally each year, including $10 billion on March Madness alone.
My guess is that legal businesses have the capital and the marketing smarts to grab at least half the illegal revenues in the next decade while growing the overall pie in a delicious way. I can imagine gambling as a platform for other financial endeavors, including lending.