Sports gambling and cornhole

It was just three years ago when the American Cornhole League signed a deal with ESPN and now ACL officials say it’s one of the fastest growing leagues in the world.

“We started out with less than 20 directors and a couple hundred players and now we have grown pretty rapidly to 350 directors and 60,000 players over the United States,” said commissioner Stacey Moore. The ACL started about four years ago so that type of growth rate is impressive for a league this new.

“The direction we are going in would be straight up gambling or possibly even fantasy sports. It would be similar to golf or tennis where people have odds on players prior to an event taking place,” said Moore.

Twenty states permit sports gambling, and several other states are expected to follow suit with legalization within the next year.

Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky of McGill University in Canada predicts that in the next five years virtually every state will have sports wagering with the exceptions being Hawaii and Utah.

“The main reason every state is moving towards sports wagering is because they don’t want their citizens going a state over to place bets. These states are trying to protect their state revenues,” said Derevensky.

Moore believes gambling by the 2021 season is the most realistic outcome. “We are having discussions about the best way to legitimize our lines for the mass market and we are looking for the right partner to talk to our gambling strategy about,” he said.

There are currently five lynchpin cornhole events that are broadcast on ESPN and this is the first year that they know the full field going into the event. This is important because it allows them the ability to set these gambling lines before the event takes place. “We own all of our data and control our own scores and that gives us the ability to use data feeds and calculations based on previous matches,” said Moore.

The ACL has done a great job of creating events that are exciting to watch for fans. Just last month during the Super Bowl, the ACL hosted an event called SuperHole which, was shown on ESPN2 featuring two NFL Quarterbacks. New York Jets QB Sam Darnold teamed up with an ACL pro to take on New York Giants QB Daniel Jones and another ACL pro. It is events like this that have helped ACL continue to grow over recent years and into the future. This is the first year the ACL has played with singles where in years past their matches were strictly doubles.

Dr. Ryan J. Martin of East Carolina University sees no reason why cornhole would not attract a large crowd to gamble on it.

“Anytime there is a new sport to gamble on, they will have several opportunities to place bets on it. If people can bet on it then they will,” said Martin, who has conducted numerous studies on sports gambling. Another reason why Martin thinks they will do well is that there are large groups of people in the world that enjoy watching sports more when money is involved.

The future of cornhole is bright and the partnership with ESPN continues to expand their audience.

“Tell the Rotogrinders community we would love to run a tournament for them sometime,” said Moore.

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