September 2020 will go down as a banner month for the legal sports betting industry in the US. Buoyed by the start of the NFL season, playoff action in MLB, the NBA and MLB, the Kentucky Derby, and the US Open Golf tournament, sports betting providers rode the full wagering menu to staggering totals, with many states blowing away previous handle records.
Through it all, an obvious “Top 5” emerged and those 5 were responsible for an astounding $2 billion in bets. They helped the National sports betting handle pass $2.5 billion which eclipses the $2.1 billion record National handle set in August.
It also became increasingly clear in September that there is a new reigning “King of the Bet-Friendly States”. And it isn’t grand-daddy Nevada! So, let’s take a peek at the Top 5 list and what made them so successful during the month of September.
#1 New Jersey
For the second month in a row, New Jersey has come in as the biggest sports betting state in the nation… and in September it wasn’t close. New Jersey’s August sports betting haul was impressive with $667,979,150 worth of bets taken in. But September eclipsed that number by $80 million with their National-record $748,588,349 handle. September handle was also up 68% from this time last year when the platform took in $445,563,503.
The reasons for New Jersey’s success are numerous. The biggest is its mobile betting platform that was responsible for $678,745,374 of the $748,588,349 total September handle, or 90.7%, which is a new high-water mark for mobile, both in the state and nationally. Retail betting, by contrast, was responsible for just $69.8 million.
New Jersey can also thank the state of New York for their incredible monthly handles. In 2019 alone, New Yorkers dropped $837 million on sports betting in New Jersey which equated to about one-fifth of the Garden’s state’s 2019 $4.6 billion handles.
It’s true. Nevada’s time as “King” appears to officially be over. Second place in terms of the monthly handle is fine, but considering the decades-old head-start they got on New Jersey, second is of little consolation.
On Wednesday morning, the Nevada Gaming Control Board announced its sports betting handle of $575.2 million for September, which comes in an eye-opening $173 million below New Jersey – the second-biggest gap between the two states, behind August when New Jersey took in $193 million more than Nevada.
The biggest reason for New Jersey’s intense rise and Nevada’s inability to keep up is simple – the mobile platforms in each state. Nevada has curiously maintained their antiquated in-person sign-up rule for mobile betting in the state and they have suffered. While New Jersey reported over 90% of their handle coming from mobile, Nevada had just 55% of their September total coming from mobile apps.
Coming in at #3 is Pennsylvania, which maintains its place in the top-3 bet-friendly states. The state reported a $462.79 million handle for September – the first time the state eclipsed the $400 million mark. Pennsylvania’s previous high-water mark came in August when they took in $384.4 million in bets – 26% less than the state reported in September.
Just like in New Jersey, Pennsylvania’s mobile betting platform carried the state. Of the record $462.79 million handles, an impressive $414.1 million or 89.5% of the bets came from mobile apps and internet betting.
Barstool Sports’ presence in Pennsylvania has added fuel to the Pennsylvania fire and gives rise to the optimism that their state could leapfrog Nevada in the not-too-distant future.
One of the newcomers in the legal sports betting industry, Colorado has quickly shot up the ladder and comes in at #4 in terms of September handle. Despite launching in May, Colorado’s market looks to be close to maturity.
Colorado set a monthly sports handle record in September too. Its 15 online and 11 retail sportsbooks took in a record $207.65 million in bets in September – the first time the relatively new platform topped the $200 million mark.
What sets Colorado apart is the ridiculous 98.2% of the handle that came from its mobile platform -easily a record Nationally. With all of the big names in the mobile sports betting space like TheScore Bet, William Hill, SportsBetting.com, and eventually Barstool Sportsbook making their presence felt in Colorado in September, expect that state to continue their ascent going forward.
Continuing the trend of record-setting handles for individual states is Indiana, September’s #5 top-grossing legal sports betting state. They reported a record-setting $207.45 million sportsbook handle for the month in a state with just over 6 million residents.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it was Indiana’s mobile sports betting platform that dominated. Altogether, $178.98 million or 86.3% of the $207.45 million that was taken in by Indiana in September came from mobile apps.