Is An Amazon Sportsbook Partnership Inevitable?

Amazon will have exclusive streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday night slate starting with the 2022 season, a move leading many to believe that Amazon’s involvement in the sports betting industry is right around the corner.

When Amazon began back in 1994, it was just an online marketplace for books. In the years since, it has grown into a multi-billion-dollar corporation that is so much more. With the NFL’s Thursday night games heading to Amazon’s streaming service exclusively starting in 2022, it is fair to start asking about another possible expansion.

Is it only a matter of time before we see Amazon partner with a sportsbook or launch their own?

The easiest move for Amazon would be to partner with an established sportsbook. Such a book would already be active in several states with the potential and ability to expand into more. Buying out one of the lesser-known sportsbooks would be an option. That way, they would not be starting at absolute zero.

But the cost to rebuild and restructure it so that it can function on the scale that Amazon operates on makes that option less appealing.

So why not build their own? That way, Amazon would have control of the branding and every aspect of the operation rather than cede control to someone else. With the work Amazon already does with professional sports, it may not take much for Amazon to develop a betting platform of its own.

Amazon Web Services already works with the NFL to produce Next Gen Stats, giving fans insight into the game they have never had before. It’s also key for Formula One cars and America’s Cup boats that use high-performance computing to help redesign cars and boats.

Sports leagues, teams and players use AWS to collect data in real-time and analyze it to improve overall health and performance.

With all that AWS is already doing and can do, it is not hard to imagine them potentially revolutionizing the online sports betting industry. As it turns out, Amazon may already have laid the groundwork to do just that.

In 2018, when Amazon first began streaming Thursday Night Football games, the company tested out different daily fantasy-type gaming features. Amazon has also been working with one of the leading sportsbooks in Australia, SportsBet.

At least one sportsbook has done well using AWS to support business operations. In a 2020 article, Simon Noonan, chief information officer for Sportsbet, had this to say about AWS:

“We needed to scale our infrastructure tenfold to support traffic spikes during the Melbourne Cup, and that was becoming increasingly difficult. We had to find new technology to enable the business to grow and innovate with speed.”

Whether Amazon partners with an existing U.S. book, brings someone like SportsBet to the U.S. market, or builds their own platform from scratch, Amazon is bound to be involved in sports betting in some way in 2022.

Photo Credit: Google Creative Common Licenses

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