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How operators used SEO to market Sports in New York


    In just a few years sports betting has become a thriving industry in the New York – making the state the heart of sports gambling in America.

    The story of gambling in the USA began with a critical Supreme Court decision in 2018.The court decided that individual states could in future make their own rules and restrictions about sports betting. 

    At that stage Nevada, Oregon and Montana were the only states where some form of gambling on sports was allowed.

    To some extent, the Supreme Court opened the gates and a pent-up flood of demand came rushing through. At the time of writing 23 states have taken advantage of the change and allowed some form of sports betting.

    New York was one of these. It began the process of legalising sports betting rather slowly in 2019.

    This started with authorities allowing physical sports betting to take place at commercial and tribal casino sites that were already licensed.

    The pressure grew to allow more leeway. More and more sports fans were pushing for the right to make bets online too.

    New York is known for its sports fervour. There is a huge fan-base for various top-rated baseball, football, basketball and hockey sides in the state. 

    Millions follow state teams like the Yankees, Mets, Jets, nets, Giants, Knicks, Sabres, Islanders and Rangers.

    Authorities were aware that unauthorised betting was already happening. Bringing online sportsbooks under official control would open up a huge new source of tax revenue for the state.

    Finally, Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed the legalisation of state-wide sports betting in April 2021. By January 2022 sports betting operators were launching their online sites and mobile apps in New York and now many enjoy online sports betting in New York.

    The state’s first sportsbook operators were BetRivers, FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars. They have been since joined by more. 

    These operators can now take wagers from anywhere in the state. Sports bets can also be made at bricks-and-mortar licensed casinos in the state.

    Promotional problems

    The early steps for the new sportsbook operators weren’t as easy as many industry voices had predicted. Advertising and promotion proved to need a more subtle approach than many had predicted.

    Words like ‘gambling’ and ‘betting’ were generally taboo in many forms of media. At the same time journalism throughout the country was in a state of serious decline, reducing the opportunities for editorial coverage.

    What happened next was interesting – and a good demonstration of how internet start-ups can overcome obstacles like this. 

    The sportsbooks operators employed sophisticated internet search engine optimisation professionals to make sure their sites turned up in the search results of potential players.

    The art of using SEO in promotion means analysing what internet users are searching for. Once these ‘key words’ are identified they can be used as phrases and individual words in all your content and material. 


    This means the Google search engine will place your pages in a higher position on its results page.

    For example, the operators discovered that ‘betting online’ is one of America’s most popular searched-for phrases. So operators learned to use phrases like this to boost the visibility of their content online.

    Clever techniques

    It went deeper too, with sophisticated use of internet skills to create Meta-titles and page descriptions that would attract high search rankings. 

    Internet experts say that using keywords like ‘online’, ‘sports’ and ‘betting’ in the Meta-data can have the most impact on Google’s ranking.

    One study of the operator’s online promotions noted that DraftKings used 270 words in one example of content, and this contained a massive 32 key words. Another operator used a chunk of content that mentioned ‘online’ 27 times and ‘betting’ 34 times.

    Other factors helping promote the sites were regularly up-dating content, having good backlinks to the site from other sites and making the pages fast to load and secure. 

    None of these techniques are new to the internet world – they have been evolving gradually over the past decade. But this was a great example of how the could be cleverly used to help sportsbook start-ups gain very rapid traction online.

    At the same time operators have learned to make content personal and relevant to their target audiences. They made the sites attractive, modern and slick.

    But the primary weapon in their promotional battle was making their sites easy to find. In today’s digital marketplace if prospective customers cannot find you via a Google search your business is doomed.

    Did it work?

    The New York sports betting scene may have started slowly but thanks to these sort of internet techniques it has since been enjoying a boom in business. 

    The result is that New York is now leading the way with online sports betting. It’s the US state that is recording the biggest monthly sports betting turnover in the whole of America.

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