The month of May has proven to be an interesting one with regard to the broad US legal sports betting industry. With about 65% of jurisdictions having reported their monthly sports betting figures, about half have shown an increase in month-to-month sports betting activity while the other half has reported expected seasonal summer declines.
Late last week it was Mississippi and Washington DC that reported their May sports betting figures. Both followed the path of New Jersey and Indiana with handle increases along with revenue declines and went against the reporting of two of the other Heavyweights within the US scene Michigan and Pennsylvania, which both revealed month-over-month handle decreases.
Checking Out Washington DC
There has been an interesting pattern that has developed this month in the US legal sports betting scene. Those states with May handle increases have shown revenue declines. Count Washington DC as one of those jurisdictions.
Sportsbooks in DC are reporting a $13.8 million May handle, which is an impressive 28.2% spike from April’s $10.7 million in bets taken. The 28.2% increase is by far the highest May increase of any legal sports betting state.
Unlike any other US sports betting state that currently have retail and mobile betting options, it was Washington DC’s retail platform that dominated the mobile. $10.7 million of the overall $13.8 million handle came from Washington DC’s William Hill sportsbook at Capitol One Arena with the remaining $3.1 million coming from the region’s only state-wide mobile option, GamebetDC. It is a true testament to how bad GamebetDC has been.
Washington DC, while experiencing a spike in overall sports betting activity in May, saw a decline in revenues and therefore the amount of tax dollars that flowed into needy state and local coffers. DC sportsbooks made around $1.4 million in May, a, 11.6% decrease from the $1.6 million in April.
Tax revenues slipped about 11.6% as well, from $155,147 in April to $137,967 in May.
Now for Mississippi
Mississippi followed a similar pattern as Washington DC. The state’s legal sports betting scene posted an increase in its handle and a decrease in its revenues.
Mississippi sportsbooks reported a $36,125,896 million May betting total – a 9.7% increase from April when sportsbooks took in $32,917,836. While respectable, May’s numbers are still a far cry from the $67.7 million that sportsbooks reported during their record month of January.
The driver of the May sports betting take in Mississippi was basketball that contributed about $15 million to the state’s overall wagering total. Baseball was responsible for $7.4 million and another $6 million was spent on parlays in May.
While the overall handle increased, Mississippi’s sportsbooks posted a revenue loss in May. Revenues dropped 9.6% to $3,888,299 from April’s $4,300,968 in sportsbook profits. The revenue slide is due largely to the drop in hold-rate for Mississippi sportsbooks, which slumped from an impressive 13.07% in April to a still-respectable 10.76% in May.
Where They Go From Here
It has been an inconsistent few months for the legal sports betting scenes in both Washington DC and Mississippi but both have a few factors that will hopefully keep their sports betting jurisdictions afloat through the summer.
Both will have the extended NBA and NHL seasons to lean on, and the Olympics and Euro 2020 will hopefully drum up some wagering interest. Mississippi will hopefully keep hosting bettors from Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana until Florida and Louisiana can launch their own platforms. Washington DC enters the dog days of summer with some much-needed competition for their sports betting scene, thanks to BetMGM launching at Nationals Park.
There is no doubt that both Washington DC and Mississippi will be looking toward September 9 and the start of the NFL season. It is widely expected that the industry in both states will have to wait until then before consistent and record increases will become commonplace.
Both jurisdictions seem to have done a pretty good job weathering the seasonal slowdown storm so far. Eyes will be on the June numbers to see just how good the weathering has been.