For all the ways sports gambling has infiltrated American life since the Supreme Court legalized the industry five years ago, there was one area where betting still did not exist: within actual sports broadcasts. Bettors couldn’t watch a game on Fox or ESPN and point their remote at an on-screen button to place a wager. But all that is about to change.
Tappp, a New York–based payments processor, has been working to develop an integrated streaming and TV betting system over the past four years. Last week it formalized an agreement with Major League Rugby to provide in-game betting on the league-owned Rugby Network for the 2024 season. The finalized deal, which has not been previously reported, marks the first time a professional sports league has greenlit the ability for fans to simultaneously watch games and place bets from their TVs, phones or tablet screens. Tappp executives believe this will be the first of several such deals with professional leagues and their network partners in coming months.
“What we are trying to do has not really been done before,” said Harry Hardy, chief commercial officer of Major League Rugby. “When we talk with other players in the sports betting industry, their eyes kind of open wide: ‘Wow, this is something significant.’”