The Two Biggest Legal US Sports Betting Markets Post Huge March Numbers

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Heading into the month of May, the start of both the NBA and NHL playoffs should provide a nice boost to the monthly betting handle. Most of the states offering legal sports betting in some form have been posting solid results through the early part of this year.


Looking back at the official gaming numbers for March, the two biggest markets for legal sports betting in the US remain on an impressive run.


New Jersey has established itself as the biggest state for betting sports legally when it comes to the total monthly handle. The handle refers to the total money wagered over any given timeframe.


A sportsbook’s hold is the difference between the money paid out on that handle in winning bets and the money plus commission (juice) collected on losing wagers.


Earlier in April, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) reported that the total state handle for sports betting in March was $859.6 million. While this is not a new state record for total sports betting, it is a major improvement over the same month last year when the handle plummeted to just $181.9 million.


While the majority of sports wagers are placed through mobile sportsbook apps, retail sportsbooks in the Garden State were strong in March with a $79.5 million handle. This was the highest volume at land-based venues since January of 2019.


The main takeaway from this year’s total number in March is the largest NJ handle ever in a month without football on the board. The goal of crossing the $1 billion plateau in a month will probably have to wait until football is back on the board in the fall.


New Jersey books took in $60.8 million in revenue in March. This resulted in tax revenue of $7.7 million for the state.


Behind this year’s NCAA Tournament, betting on basketball accounted for more than half of March’s total handle at $441.7 million.


Nevada lost its standing as the biggest sports betting market in the US. However, the original state for legal sports betting is still a very strong No. 2. The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported a state handle of $641 million for sports betting in March.


This represents a 15.7% increase from February’s total handle. This added up to $87 million more in sports betting month to month. Once again, March Madness for college basketball accounted for much of this increase.


Both retail and online revenue figures were equally encouraging. The book’s take was reported to be $39.4 million which is 24% higher than the previous month. This marks a strong industry performance and a sizable increase in tax revenue for the state.


Nevada’s total gaming win for the month of March of the year topped $1 billion to signal a strong recovery coming off a highly challenging 2020.


The big difference between New Jersey’s sports betting industry and Nevada’s is mobile betting’s share of the market. While this tops 90% in the Garden State, it only accounts for 60% of the sports bets placed in Nevada.


Nevada law still requires sports bettors to register for an online mobile betting app through a land-based retail sportsbook.

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