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February Handles Reveal Universal Dip in U.S. Legal Sports Betting Sector

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Banque Populaire's Armel Le Cleach sails past the Statue of Liberty on the Hudson river during the New York-Vendee Race. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

February sports betting numbers from a host of participating U.S. jurisdictions have been coming in the last couple of weeks. The theme? A month-over-month drop in handles and sportsbook revenues thanks to the end of the NFL season, the absence of any college football action and the fact that there were only 28 days for which bettors could place a wager.

All jurisdictions that have reported so far have experienced drops that have ranged from 9%, all the way up to the 28.8% seen in Iowa. Sportsbook revenues were down in every state, some by over 50%, meaning that bettors themselves had a highly successful February.

The good news is that March Madness is already having a positive impact on sportsbooks around the country and the fears of an extended MLB lockout have been eased. March should see a bounce back and April should provide a decent haul for sportsbooks as well, before May starts the inevitable “offseason” for sportsbooks across the country.

Let’s take a peek at those states that have already reported their February sports betting hauls in order of most successful to the least so far.

New York

New York completed its first full month of legal sports betting in February and unsurprisingly, it was an incredibly good one for the state’s sportsbooks. A total of $1.5 billion was taken in by New York’s sports betting providers, the second highest total ever for a U.S. state over a one-month period. The $1.5 billion in February was only bested by the Big Apple’s U.S. record handle of $1.7 billion in January.

Breaking the impressive numbers down further, $54.6 million per day was spent by bettors in New York in February. Last month’s numbers, despite the biggest day on the U.S. sports betting calendar, Super Bowl Sunday, revealed an expected 12% month-over-month drop in wagering activities.

$82.4 million in sportsbook profits was reported for February, leading to a net $40.4 million for providers and $42 million in tax revenue for state and local coffers. In less than two months of operation in New York, sportsbooks have contributed a staggering $121 million in taxes for needy state and local coffers.

Analysts do not expect the dip to last for long, however.

“As big as the Super Bowl is, it is still just one game,” said Mike Mazzeo, Lead Analyst for PlayNY.com. “And a slowdown in the immediate aftermath of the game is to be expected everywhere. The mild pullback will not last long, though. The NCAA Tournament is the nation’s largest sports betting holiday, and that presents a huge customer acquisition opportunity for sportsbooks.”

FanDuel continued to lead the way in the New York scene with $568.1 million in bets in February – more than almost all competing states generated last month. DraftKings was second with $387.6 million in wagers and Caesars came third with $323.4 million.

New Jersey

On Wednesday, New Jersey released their February sports betting numbers… and they were a disappointment. For the first time since August, the Garden State failed to reach the $1 billion monthly plateau. The state’s sportsbooks took in a still respectable $985.6 million in February, but it was still a sizable 26.9% drop from January’s $1.3 billion.

Revenues for the New Jersey sports betting scene revealed an even starker month-over month decline. Sportsbooks made $30.9 million in February, which represents a 48.7% drop from January’s $60.2 million. $30.9 million is the lowest revenue total for New Jersey sportsbooks since July 2020.

The FanDuel, PointsBet, SuperBook partnership in the state was the biggest revenue producer but fell short of an expected 50% market share. The Resorts’  DraftKings/FoxBet partnership closed the gap in New Jersey just a little with the Borgata/BetMGM holding its own and coming in the third biggest producer in the state.

While most states with similar month-over-month declines are expecting a huge March bump thanks to the NCAA tournament, the jury is still out on whether or not the Garden State will see a similar bump. Betting on in-state college teams is still prohibited under New Jersey law, unlike the rules in most competing jurisdictions.

And of course, there is also the explosion of betting activity in neighboring New York keeping the Garden State’s betting handles in check. It was reported that up to 25% of New Jersey’s monthly handles came from cross-state, New York bettors who are now staying at home and utilizing their own state’s mobile wagering apps.

Check out the latest comprehensive and most trusted Sportsbook Reviews by SBR here.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, another top-5 legal sports betting jurisdiction released their February earnings report Friday. They too showed a decrease in overall sports betting activity last month. $597.1 million was taken in by the state’s sportsbooks last month, a 24.8% drop from $793.7 million in January.

Like in other states, Pennsylvania bettors got the better of the sportsbooks. Gross revenues for Pennsylvania sports betting operators came in at -$442,847. Those same providers combined for $32.17 million in profits in January.

March Madness is expected to provide a handle bounce back for Pennsylvania, and baseball season should at least keep the industry there afloat through the typically slow spring and summer betting months.

Michigan

Michigan on Thursday came out with their February legal sports betting numbers and they, too, revealed a double-digit percentage decrease. $423.8 million was spent at the state’s sportsbooks last month, which is a 20.4% drop from the $532.7 million in January. Total adjusted sports betting gross gaming revenue slipped into the red . Minus -4.8 million in revenues were reported by regulators in the state. Tax contributions to the state slipped 75% from $1.4 million in January to just $360,354 in February.

FanDuel led the way with a reported $122.4 million in bets, DraftKings was next with $94.7 million and BetMGM rounded out the top-3 with $86.7 million in bets taken in.

March is expected to be a huge month for the Michigan legal sports betting industry. March 2021 held the record for their highest monthly handle, until the explosion the state saw in October 2021. March Madness will be a huge draw with both Michigan and Michigan State involved.

Indiana

Indiana sportsbooks followed the pattern of month-over-month double-digit handle dips in February. Betting activity in the Hoosier State dropped 18.2% to just under $385.5 million last month, significantly less than the $465.5 million in January. Revenues for the state’s books took an even bigger hit. $17 million in profits were reported by participating sportsbooks in Indiana, a staggering 52.3% drop from the more than $35.5 million in January.

Indiana is a basketball-crazed state. It is one jurisdiction expecting a huge bounce back in March and April, thanks to the NCAA Basketball tournaments.

Tennessee

Tennessee is yet another in the long line of states reporting a month-over-month dip in sports betting activity. A $313.3 million February handle is 18.8% less than January’s $386.1 million. Revenues for the state’s sportsbooks declined 48% from January to February and tax contributions to the state dropped 48% to $3 million.

Iowa

Iowa’s legal sports betting scene suffered a substantial month-over-month drop from January to February. Sportsbooks in the state took in $215.9 million over February’s 28-days – a 28.8% drop from the record $303.3 million in January. The Super Bowl February 13th could not boost the Iowa legal sports betting scene – revenues dropped 39.9% to $8,579,100 and tax contributions followed with a 38.5% decline.

Louisiana

Louisiana had its first full month of legal sports betting in February. The state is expected to take a rightful place on the Top-10 list of legal sports betting states, and February proved why. FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, Barstool, and BetRivers led the Louisiana legal sports betting scene to a $211 million February handle, leading to $2.21 million in taxes paid to state and local coffers.

As long as Louisiana can continue to count on Texas bettors, for whom legal sports betting does not even seem to be in the cards, Louisiana’s wagering scene should continue to thrive.

Connecticut

Connecticut saw one of the bigger percentage drops in their month-over-month sports betting activity. The state’s sportsbooks took in $115.62 million in February, which represents a 26.9% drop from the $158.1 million in January. Revenues, like we have seen in other jurisdictions, followed suit. $3.65 million was made by the state’s sportsbooks in February, a sharp 56.1% drop from the $8.31 million in profits from January.

Maryland

Maryland is worth a mention but is still far from a complete sports betting environment. Hopes are that the state will be able to expand its platform soon, to include mobile wagering and a more competitive retail scene, beyond the six land-based casinos currently making up the entirety of the market there.

$162.97 in total gaming revenue was reported by state regulators for February, a 6% increase from the $153.75 million in January.

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