Smarkets wants to enter the Indiana sports betting market but they have concerns over the Wire Act.

  • Smarkets partnered with Full House Resorts in order to provide online sports betting in Indiana and potentially in Colorado.
  • Smarkets is a UK-based betting exchange that allows you to put money down on different types of sporting events.
  • The Wire Act was signed in 1961 and prohibits the communication of sports betting information across state lines.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Smarkets will be powering online sports wagering in Indiana and possibly Colorado in the near future. But, Smarkets V.P. of Software Engineering Mark Miscavage believes that in order for the company to establish a real presence in the U.S., something has to be done about the Wire Act.

The Wire Act of 1961 is a federal law that bans interstate communication of all types when it comes to sports betting. It is essentially the reason why all legal sports betting apps are geo-fenced to the state in which they operate in.

Smarkets, on the other hand, is not like any other online sportsbook operator. They are an exchange company, which means bettors are betting against each other, rather than a bookmaker.

An exchange typically takes a smaller percentage of the action they facilitate when compared to an over the top cut that a traditional sportsbook puts on their odds. But, while Smarkets is able to provide this service in entire countries overseas, they are limited in the U.S.

“The biggest hurdle for us would be able to pool liquidity, in this case, between all the states. I don’t know that there is one state that’s quite big enough to provide the liquidity and volume needed to run an effective exchange for just one state,” said Miscavage in an interview with Casino.org.

Since the repeal of PASPA, there have been seventeen states to legalize sports wagering. However, none of these states wrote specific laws for a betting exchange to operate within their borders. Most states do not have any sports betting laws written at all, which is why offshore sportsbooks have long been prevalent in the U.S.

“Whoever is going to be first is going to have not only some hoops to jump through but some education to do, to let the regulators know what an exchange needs to function properly and how it needs to be regulated differently from a sportsbook,” said Miscavage.

The deal between Smarkets and Full House Resorts allows Smarkets to run their recently launched SBK sportsbook app throughout the state of Indiana and Colorado.

According to a press release sent out by the company, the app is expected to be operational in Indiana in late 2019. If Colorado voters approve sports betting on their November ballot, the SBK app could launch in the state by Spring of 2020.

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