The rampant popularity of sports wagering across the United States is showing no signs of slowing down, as total handle in jurisdictions with commercial betting recently cleared $250 billion in the post-PASPA era.
It was a quick leap in terms of a $50 billion interval, with just five-plus months to go from $200 billion to $250 billion. It was an eight-month span to get from $150 billion to $200 billion, a threshold crossed in early March. The introduction of large-market states Ohio and Massachusetts this year, coupled with the now-normal $1 billion-plus monthly handles in New York, drastically shortened the gap.
|State||Handle||% of Total U.S. Handle||Year Launched|
|All Other States||$45,043,331,409||18.00%|
|U.S. TOTAL HANDLE||$250,180,967,353|
|*Totals thru June 2023|
Year Two of mobile betting in the Empire State is running ahead of its 2022 pace. The fall figures to continue that trend, with the New York Giants coming off a playoff berth last season and the Jets the talk of the NFL offseason with their acquisition of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
With a majority of revenue reports in for July, there has been $59.3 billion wagered nationally in the first six-plus months of 2023. To put that number in perspective, that total is already more than the $57.8 billion wagered in all of 2021. With at least two more states — notably Kentucky — set to launch before the end of the year, coupled with the popularity of NFL wagering as the season draws near, it seems a near certainty that handle for this calendar year will set a new record and surpass $100 billion.
|Year||Sports Wagering Handle||% of All-Time Handle|
By the numbers
1-12: The ranking spots occupied by New York for all-time highest monthly handles
3: Number of states with legal commercial wagering available in June 2018, when the first bets were placed outside of Nevada
4: Number of months when the national handle surpassed $10 billion
5: Number of states with at least one $1 billion monthly handle
7: Number of states with legal commercial wagering entering 2019
10: Number of states with $10 billion or more all-time handle since launch
12: Number of states with at least one $500 million monthly handle
13: Number of states with legal commercial wagering entering 2020
20: Number of states with legal commercial wagering entering 2021
22: Number of consecutive months with at least $5 billion national monthly handle
23: Number of states with $1 billion or more all-time handle since launch
26: Number of states with legal commercial wagering entering 2022
29: Number of states with legal commercial wagering entering 2023
30: Number of states with legal commercial wagering as of Aug. 23, 2023
37: Number of instances with a state recording $1 billion monthly handle
An All-Star monthly hypothetical handle
It is unlikely that the stars will align and every state offering sports wagering will set an all-time national monthly high for handle. The $11.5 billion handle record from January, however, could be broken during the NFL season if history is any indication. The then-national all-time highs fashioned in the first month of 2021 and 2022 were eclipsed before the end of each year.
So what would an “All-Star” occurrence of everyone’s best month look like? The handle would be nearly $1.6 billion larger compared to January, with the five states that have topped $1 billion in monthly handle — New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Illinois, and Ohio — accounting for nearly half that amount with $6.4 billion.
|State||Top Handle||Month Achieved|
|District of Columbia||$24,918,457||October 2021|
|New Hampshire||$103,390,747||March 2023|
|New Jersey||$1,348,860,083||January 2022|
|New York||$1,799,048,376||January 2023|
|Rhode Island||$62,317,384||January 2023|
|South Dakota||$975,347||March 2022|
|West Virginia||$83,097,858||November 2021|
Chasing $100 billion handle
Given that the seven states yet to publish July numbers include Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Virginia, and Arizona, it is reasonable to think the average national monthly handle will be near $9 billion in 2023, pushing the total to approximately $63 billion. August historically has provided solid if unspectacular growth from July — it was 8.2% in 2022 — which means a national handle of $70 billion before the first September report is released is likely.
From there, it would seem an easy leap for the NFL season, the primary driver of the U.S. sports betting market, to create a notable bump in handle. Ohio and Massachusetts are expected to provide notably large fall handles, as bettors in those states will be wagering on regular-season pro and college football for the first time. Kentucky is somewhat of a mystery, given that it will launch retail betting and not mobile in the coming weeks, but the number will still be bigger than the $0 contributed by the Bluegrass State from 2022.
The $30 million needed over the final four months of 2023 seems to be a fait accompli since the final quarter of 2022 saw $29.8 billion handle nationally. So the question may not be if $100 billion handle is in play for 2023, but whether $110 billion is to get to $300 billion all-time.