August’s Strong Sports Betting Handle Sets the Stage for September

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US sports bettors and legal US sportsbooks alike had Sept. 9 circled on their calendars. That date marked the start of the 2021 NFL regular season.

The sports betting handle in most legal US markets had been slumping all summer long. A turnaround in the downward trends all pointed towards the return of football heading into the fall. This was before the numbers started coming in on August’s performance.

Starting in New Jersey, as the biggest legal sports betting market in the US, August betting volume jumped 14.9%. This was on the heels of month-to-month declines going back to May.

Betting volume in New Jersey sunk to $578.7 million in July. This was the lowest total of the year. With August betting volume surging upward to $664.7 million, the stage is set for a possible record-breaking month in September.

New Jersey currently holds the record for the biggest monthly handle among US states offering legal sports betting. That figure stands at $996.9 million in December of 2020. The state flirted with crossing the $1 billion plateau again this past January.

The strong betting volume in August has some industry analysts predicting that New Jersey will cross the $1 billion mark this September.

US-based sportsbook operators in New Jersey are also hoping September numbers improve their overall revenue. While the betting volume surged 15% in August verse the previous month, revenue fell 5.4%.

The in-state books took in $55 million in revenue in July. This only added up to $52 million in August. The primary reason for the drop was the overall hold. New Jersey sportsbooks posted a healthy 9.5% hold on betting volume in July. That dropped to 7.8% in August.

Indiana is another important market in the legal US sports betting industry. For the first time in four months, the betting handle posted an increase verse the previous one.

Indiana’s betting handle in August topped out at $215.6 million. This equates to a 10.8% increase over July’s $194.5 million in betting volume. This state’s record handle for legal sports betting stands at $348.2 million. That was the total betting volume in January of this year.

Following the same pattern as New Jersey, Indiana sportsbooks suffered lower revenue in August on a lower hold.

Indiana books took in $17.4 million on July’s handle. With just a 7.6% hold in August, revenue dropped 5.2% to $16.5 million.

Another Indiana trend mirroring the sports betting industry in the Garden State was retail verse online betting volume. More than 90% of the betting volume in August was booked through mobile betting apps in the Hoosier State.

This is a telling statistic for all the states in the legal US market still not offering online sports betting. This is the main reason why markets such as New Jersey and Indiana continue to flourish even through the slower summer months.

As more and more state numbers are released for August, the outlook for September should get brighter and brighter. The month has already gotten off to a fast start based on betting volume estimates for Week 1 of the NFL season.

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