According to Bloomberg, the New York based phone giant, Verizon Communications Inc. is mulling the possibility of entering the sports betting industry. This comes as the Supreme Court is in the process of deciding about the status of sports betting, which could become a legal reality by the end of this year.
Bloomberg claims that Verizon executives have been meeting with consultants to assess the possibility that the company enters into sports focused online gambling ventures should federal laws change in the United States. The article also quotes Verizon’s chief financial officer, Matt Ellis who says in an interview: “There are some changes coming that we pay attention to. We stay close to that to see how it would affect our asset and how we may chose to respond. I’ve not looked at anything in detail. If someone has an idea around it, I’ll look at it like any other. But we are not getting ahead of ourselves there.”
Last year, Verizon purchased Yahoo in a $4.5 billion deal, and with the acquisition came the latter’s popular sports fantasy arm. Verizon is also owner of the country’s biggest mobile network which consists of 100 million subscribers, not to mention Yahoo’s 1.3 billion users. All this forms the perfect infrastructure for a legal sports betting venture should Verizon choose to go that route.
However, Verizon may decide that entry into the betting business may prove to be a huge and challenging process, especially with such formidable competition out there.
Should Verizon decide to go the gambling route, Bloomberg suggests that the company may consider the acquisition of existing online sports betting operators so as to avoid the need to begin from building a business from scratch. This is a strategy that the company used in the past in other ventures, such as when it bought Intel’s OnCue video service three years ago.
It should also be noted that Verizon has streaming rights to several NFL and NBA games, and it was only last month that the company expanded its streaming deal with NBA and entered into discussions for a joint $25 million investment to develop unique features such as quarter-by-quarter fantasy betting.
Experts estimate that a fully regulated gambling market in the US could be worth nearly $16 billion in revenue.