US Legal Betting Industry Continues to Set Records


Industry insiders knew that legal sports betting in the US was going to be a big hit. However, it is hard to believe that anyone knew how big it would be in such a short period of time. Legal sports betting in the emerging US market continues to set monthly records on a state-by-state basis. This is fueling tremendous industry growth as a whole.

Before May of 2018, Nevada sportsbooks enjoyed a monopoly on legal betting across the entire country. Federal law prevailed to prevent any other state from crashing the party. That all changed when the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of state rights when it came to governing sports betting within their borders.

New Jersey sportsbooks took the lead as one of the primary parties in that landmark case. Other states such as Pennsylvania sportsbooks, Delaware sportsbooks, West Virginia sportsbooks, and Mississippi sportsbooks quickly followed suit. Heading into the final few months of 2021, close to half the states in the country offer some form of legal betting or are in the process of doing so.

The industry numbers speak for themselves. In a little more than two years, the total US handle for sports betting has surpassed $25 billion through this past August’s numbers. The handle refers to the total amount of money wagered on sports. Total revenue is the sportsbooks’ take. That figure stands at $1.9 billion for the same time frame.

August alone brought in $2.1 billion in wagers and $119.4 million in revenue according to industry sources. This was the largest monthly handle ever and the second-biggest month in revenue.

Nevada still leads the way as the biggest state for sports betting but New Jersey is closing that gap. Current trends suggest that the Garden State will top this list within the next several months. New Jersey just posted the largest monthly handle ever ($668 million) in the month of August.

Other states high on the list are:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • West Virginia

The fastest-growing market is Colorado online sportsbooks. Legal sports betting first went live on May 1 and this state has the 10th biggest handle in the country.

There are currently 17 states with legal sports betting plus Washington DC online sportsbooks. The next state to open for business is Tennessee sportsbooks which will exclusively be online. The Volunteer State has Nov. 1 circled as its official launch.

More and more states are moving forward with legislation to get into the game. Louisiana has a voter’s referendum on the ballot for November’s election.

The first retail sportsbooks were added to land-based casinos and racetracks. The hottest ticket for industry growth is coming from the online sector. States with legal online sports betting have turned to books such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM to create apps for mobile betting.

One of the newest entries into the mobile betting segment is Barstool Sportsbook. Through a equity partnership with Penn National Gaming, this betting app has been an overnight sensation where available.

With both the NFL and limited college football on the board, the final fourth months of the year should yield even more record numbers.

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