Regulated US sportsbooks have officially taken in more than $5 billion in wagers over a single month for the first time in history, according to data compiled by PlayUSA.com, a leading source for news and analysis on the US regulated gaming industry.
Legal sports betting jurisdictions have so far reported that sportsbooks handled $5.2bn in wagers in September, a month that saw a surge in betting across the country with a full schedule of college football and the first three weekends of the NFL season. Those legal sportsbooks realized $412.5m in gross revenue from those bets.
“Football has created a wave of bettor enthusiasm that has met the higher end of our expectations, but the increase is more than just interest in a single sport or an expansion of legalized sports betting into new states,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network. “Relatively young markets such as Michigan and Virginia, where bettors got their first opportunity to wager on regular season football through online sportsbooks, expectedly saw a massive surge in interest. But New Jersey and Nevada posted record months, too, signaling a similar broadening in the most mature markets in the U.S.”
The country’s first $5bn month became official on Monday afternoon following Illinois’ announcement that its sportsbooks had attracted $596.5m in September wagers. The previous US record for a month was the $4.6bn that was wagered in March. And because Arizona has yet to report data, September’s handle will still inch higher.
By comparison, betting in September is up 80.6 per cent so far from the $2.9bn in wagers legal US sportsbooks attracted in September 2020.
Football was expected to bring records in many of the 28 states and Washington D.C. that allowed legal sports betting in some form in September, including Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Wyoming, which all launched that month. Excluding those new markets, nine jurisdictions set monthly handle records and six posted new highs in gross revenue. That includes a $1bn handle in New Jersey, the first time bettors poured more than $1bn into any single state’s sportsbooks over the course of a month.
New Jersey led the way with $1.01bn, followed by Nevada with $786.7m. Illinois, Pennsylvania and Colorado completed the top five.
As impressive as September was, the record will almost certainly fall in October. Five weekends of football over the month will be the catalyst, but the beginning of the NBA and NHL seasons in addition to baseball’s postseason will make it a perfect storm of sorts.
In Iowa — the lone major legal sports jurisdiction in the US to already report October data, sportsbooks handled $280.9m during the month. That shattered the state record set in September by 33.5 per cent.
“The US sports betting market has not yet come close to reaching its ceiling,” said Eric Ramsey, data analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network. “Florida recently launched sports betting, and other large states such as Ohio and California continue to grapple with legalization. Every established sports betting state in the US is still growing. So, records will continue to be in jeopardy for the foreseeable future.”