Media companies are great partners for sports betting providers, which is why they team up on the left and right.

This was an observation of the burgeoning sports betting industry by Joe Kustelski, co-founder of Chalkline Sports, during a recent exclusive interview with Gambling Insider.

Chalkline was founded in 2016 with the simple idea that customer acquisition is the biggest challenge for operators of regulated sports betting.

To help sports betting attract new players, Chalkline produces free games and real money games with live odds from seven providers, such as the Derby Challenge for Churchill Downs. Kustelski said it can personalize any game for any person’s local team or league, and offers both pre-match and live in-play prediction games.

“There’s a social component to playing free games with other people,” he noted.

Kustelski described media companies as “the perfect match” for sports betting providers as sports betting is legalized in more US states. He noted that the American Gaming Association recently estimated that approximately 50 million Americans will place their first legal sports bet at some point in the next five years.

When asked how such a titanic shift in prospects towards gambling in general, and sports betting in particular, has happened so quickly, Kustelski said a number of factors have changed, from attitudes in society to the sports leagues themselves.

“Many of Europe’s football teams have sports betting partners,” he said. “Now that regulation and legalization is in place, the question is how you introduce potential new bettors.”

Looking to the future, Kustelski sees “no shortage” of deals.

“We will continue to see regional sports networks partnering up until everyone has a partner. We haven’t reached saturation point yet. We’ll continue to see more of these partnerships and more live sports content coupled with betting lines that lead to free games and ultimately betting. “

Are the major media companies a threat to existing gambling brands?

“It’s not necessarily a threat, it’s what it’s going to look like,” Kustelski explained.

As the sports betting industry matures, media companies and teams will work with operators, and these combinations will take different forms. Media companies will bring audiences to operators, and creative operators will figure out how to use these opportunities to attract more players.

One of the biggest changes can be seen and heard in game broadcasts. Fans of ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and his “Bad Beats” segment know a quote from Al Michaels that cleverly says, “Now that’s overwhelming” when a late score pushed the sum over / undernumbered. Today announcers are allowed to discuss the distribution of points in a game without fear of retaliation from the network.

“The openness is a welcome adjustment. Sports betting is no longer mentioned in the code, ”noted Kustelski. “People appreciate how good the odds makers are at setting a line. It is part of a healthy ecosystem. “

People have been betting on sports for “a long time,” Kustelski continued, usually through illegal bookmakers. He noted that sports betting is part of the online gaming options.

“As long as people enjoy them responsibly, that’s a good thing,” he said. “People who used to bet illegally will bet socially. There will be media companies and leagues that recognize responsible gaming programs when sports betting becomes legal in the US. “

What are the next steps? Kustelski said states that started with sports betting in retail will only switch to mobile devices, while states that started only with sports betting will move to online gaming.

“You will see interesting intersections between lotteries and sports betting,” he predicted. “We are only in the first quarter of US sports betting and there is still a lot of development to come.”