Two years ago, four states (Maryland, Louisiana, Nebraska, and South Dakota) legalized sports wagering through referendum.
What does the sports betting market in each of those states look like today?
It varies, with Marylanders frustrated by a slow mobile rollout. Nebraska’s retail sports betting rollout makes Maryland’s look fast, and South Dakota has a unique retail wagering setup. Louisiana, meanwhile, has seen over $1 billion wagered at retail and mobile sportsbooks.
Maryland slow to launch mobile
Marylanders have to wait another month or so for legal mobile sportsbooks to go live. A mobile launch is upcoming, but with the state’s lottery having deemed 10 operators qualified to receive licenses, some are wondering, “Why can’t mobile sportsbooks launch immediately?”
“We would love to be able to do that, but it just can’t happen,” Jim Nielsen, chief operating officer with the Maryland Lottery, said at a recent meeting. “The reason is based in Maryland’s sports wagering rule, and the roles created for SWARC as well as this commission.”
Essentially the SWARC — the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission — was required by law to look into ways to encourage diversity within the state’s sports wagering industry. A study into the issue took longer than expected, and the results indicated that the SWARC couldn’t legally do much to ensure diversity within the industry.
The need to look into diversity and inclusion measures pushed back a possible mobile launch. It remains to be seen if the state’s sports betting industry will have more diversity than other states.
Maryland does have retail sportsbooks, the first of which began taking bets in December 2021. Soon, Marylanders will have access to mobile betting platforms.
Louisiana sees benefit of mobile
In Louisiana, sports wagering is legal in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes (counties), and mobile betting launched in January. Retail sportsbooks opened in October 2021.
Louisiana customers have access to seven mobile sportsbooks: Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBET.
Louisiana bettors have wagered nearly $1.6 billion since legal sports wagering launched in the state. Louisiana has brought in nearly $22 million in tax revenue, and the state should see solid financial metrics during the rest of football season. Louisiana set a monthly gross revenue record in September.
September #SportsBetting numbers for #Louisiana via LSP/LGCB, a 🧵. All-time thru 9/22
GGR WR: 11.36%
AGR WR: 9.84%
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) October 20, 2022
Nebraska launch timeline unknown
Nebraska voters legalized games of chance in November 2020, which includes retail sports betting. The new wagering hasn’t launched in Nebraska yet, and a timeline for a launch is unclear.
The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission approved a set of sports betting regulations last month. It was a step forward in the process of launching, but without any imminent start as of yet.
It’s worth noting that Nebraska bettors won’t be able to wager on in-state colleges, which diminishes potential interest among local bettors. Nebraska lacks an in-state NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL team, which tends to give Nebraska football the biggest following in the state. Creighton’s men’s basketball team also has a strong fan base.
South Dakota’s small market
South Dakota allows retail sports betting at casinos in Deadwood, and the first legal wagers were placed in the state in September 2021. Given the state’s small population and the specific retail-only requirements, sports betting isn’t massive in the state.
September #SportsBetting numbers for #SouthDakota via DOR, a 🧵. All-time thru 9/22
Win Rate: 10.42%
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) October 24, 2022
South Dakota bettors have wagered $7.3 million since wagering went live, and tax revenue for the state has amounted to roughly $70,000. Eventual expansion into mobile betting could boost those numbers, but the state’s sports betting potential will always be capped by its size.