The fall is proving to be a banner time for the U.S. legal sports betting industry. September and the start of the NFL season saw a major month-to-month spike in overall wagering activity nationally and record handles in 10 of the country’s 32 legal sports betting jurisdictions.
Four states had their second-best month ever in September and a combined $5.2 billion was taken in by the country’s sportsbooks that month.
October, from what we have seen so far, figures to be even better. We can officially add Tennessee and Washington, D.C. to Iowa and Indiana as jurisdictions that experienced a major bump in overall sports betting activity in October. They, like the entirety of the U.S. sports betting landscape, benefitted from an overflowing October sports betting menu.
“With five full weekends of the NFL and college football, baseball’s postseason, and the start of the NBA season, betting inventory was off the charts,” said Alec Cunningham, an analyst for PlayTenn.com. “The calendar won’t always be so cooperative, but a maturing market will continue to push Tennessee’s industry.”
A peek at Tennessee
The state of Tennessee set a new high-water mark for its legal sports betting industry in September with a $257.3-million handle. According to the Tennessee Education Lottery, that record was shattered last month with $375.3 million in bets in October, an incredible $118 million or 45.9-percent increase.
It amounts to $12.1 million per day in wagers in Tennessee, which is a month-to-month increase from the $8.6 million in wagers placed per day in September.
Adjusted gross income also saw a month-to-month increase in Tennessee in October. Revenues came in at $17.2 million in October, a 3.6-percent increase from September. Tax contributions from sportsbook profits were reported to be $3.4 million, a 3-percent increase from September.
Now for Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. has, by all accounts, been a bit of a disappointment in terms of its legal sports betting scene. But October showed that the commonwealth could be turning the corner and is keeping up with other, more successful jurisdictions in the broader U.S. scene.
Washington, D.C. set its own handle record in October, posting $26.3 million in sports bets taken in by the state’s sportsbooks. The $26.3 million represents a 27.2-percent increase from the $20.7 million taken in during the previous record 30-day September wagering period.
The District of Columbia splits up its revenue numbers between Gambet (the Commonwealth’s lottery-based sportsbook) and the other two sportsbook operators in the jurisdiction – BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook.
Gross gaming revenues for BetMGM and Caesars fell a head-scratching 71.5-percent month-to-month, from $3.3 million in September to $938,088 in October. Gambet’s revenues on the other hand rose slightly to $632,572, up 6.1 percent from September’s $595,995.
Combined tax contributions came in at $1.56 million for October.
October on track to be the best-ever month for U.S. sports betting
So far, four states have reported their October sports betting handles and all have set new records for their respective jurisdictions. Those states have created an overwhelming sense that the record $5.2 million national sports betting handle that was recorded in September is expected to be shattered by October.
Looking ahead, November will mark the start of the college basketball season and the presence of the most complete betting menus available throughout the year. That means October’s spike and resulting state- and national-handle records may be short-lived.
It’s a good time to be a sports bettor, sports betting provider, and tax collector in the U.S. Expect the momentum to last throughout March and the end of the annual NCAA basketball tournament. Then we can look back at the fall of 2021 as the time the U.S. legal sports betting industry went to a completely different level.