Last year, the Supreme Court finally lifted a ban on sports betting- and you can bet money on this decision having made a lot of firms very, very happy. From professional sports leagues, fantasy sports websites, casinos and racetracks, sports lovers and betters alike are now able to enjoy a pastime as old as time immemorial.

In the year since, sports betting companies, then, have begun to race to leverage assets, create partnerships and cook up marketing strategies that will put their brands front and centre during the entrant rush now that the floodgates have opened. The smart firms, however, will consider approaches that put them ahead of the competition: public relations, and strategic marketing to boost engagement with their newfound- and ever-burgeoning- audiences.

This year is the year for companies to truly set themselves apart from competitors, lock down new customers, and establish a loyal sports betting customer base. Still, in the face of persistent attempts from government, businesses and public interest groups to discredit the industry and curb its promising growth, sports betting firms will need to be clever in their bids to win the public over. Here are three ways to get ahead:

Event Marketing

Sports betting brands should exhibit at relevant events that draw sports fans or attendees with like-minded demographics. Think beer festivals, or golf shows.

Activation booths should incorporate punchy consumer promotions that encourage app downloads, or wagers. For casinos looking to drive traffic to their properties, they can use something called a “bounce back” coupon that involves a special, time-locked offer.

With the right tracking method, conversions per event is easily calculable. Ensure staff at booths are experience brand ambassadors capable of engaging with attendees, and incentivised to achieve results, and you’re up and away!

Bar Promotions

Placing a wager on your favorite sports team while at your local sports bar is a real no-brainer. Sports betting companies should create marketing partnerships with sports bars to engage audiences that are already sold on watching their teams compete.

Introduce a branded table, swag, and brand ambassadors within the bar, offering patrons a gift card or free branded swag should they place a wager or download the app.  Bars can also create a themed night around sports betting, designed to entice new customers while leveraging the power of the sports betting product. Now that’s a captive audience!

Sports Sponsorships

For those sports betting companies with deeper wallets, becoming the sponsor of a professional sports team is an ideal strategy. Within a specific financial commitment typically comes the opportunity to conduct on-site, or “fan zone”, activations.

Fans already pumped up by the live experience can be further drawn into a compelling promotion, especially one that ties sports betting with their favorite sports team. A promotion calling on fans to place wagers in exchange for team jerseys is sure to drive conversions. As always, make sure to utilize brand ambassadors who are capable of working busy stadiums filled with tens of thousands of hyped-up fans!

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.