- The total money wagered at licensed sportsbooks throughout 2019 broke the $11 billion mark.
- Over $750 million was kept by sportsbooks as revenue from bettors’ losing wagers.
- With mobile betting becoming standard, 2020 should see over $20 billion wagered.
LAS VEGAS – Since PASPA was repealed in May of 2018, 21 states (plus Washington D.C.) have legalized sports betting in their districts. While only two-thirds of those states have launched their legal sports betting market, there has been little to hold back the blossoming industry.
In the 14 states with legal sportsbooks already open, nine report their sports betting handle and revenue figures each month for the world to see. Since May of 2018 and in those nine states, over $15 billion has been wagered legally at state-licensed sportsbooks.
For 2019 alone, over $11 billion has been collected from sports bettors, where over three-quarters of a billion dollars has been held as revenue from losing wagers.
This revenue milestone broke the $750 million mark as soon as Nevada reported their sports betting data from November. Bringing in over $31 million in sports betting revenue alone for the month, the state still controls a strong majority on the country’s legal sports betting market.
How Much Money Is Bet On Sports In The United States?
The betting handle of the collective states has increased each of the last three months of the NFL betting season. As the collective monthly betting handle has surpassed $1 billion each time, the state-licensed sportsbooks are getting close to taking in $2 billion a month in the height of the betting season.
Figures this high are expected to close out the year but the sports betting numbers will likely decline during and after the NFL playoffs.
In total, about $13 billion will have been risked on sports for all of 2019. This comes with the aforementioned heightened sports betting months as well as the five-month “summer” period where the sports betting handle averaged under $700 million a month.
Moving into 2020, additional states are preparing to launch in the upcoming weeks and months. With this, the monthly and yearly betting handle will increase with each addition.
Some states (Montana and North Carolina) may not impact the total figures too much due to their lessened population or ability to only wager at certain tribal casinos, respectively; however, the addition of Illinois, Washington DC, Colorado, and Tennessee will likely play a larger role.
Not only is the population of these states greater than the majority of upcoming launch states but they also all approved the addition of mobile sports betting.
When the aforementioned states all launch, there is zero doubt that the 2020 sports betting total will exceed $20 billion.
How Have Bettors Fared Against Licensed Sportsbooks?
Looking into the gambling mecca of the world (Nevada), many sportsbooks entered the market with the belief that they would retain revenue on a 5% margin. However, looking at the combined margins of state-licensed sportsbooks, the venues have been able to keep closer to 7%.
This increased winning margin won’t permit the reporting sportsbooks to keep over $1 billion in the country’s first full calendar year of legal sports betting. However, it has put them on pace to keep close to $900 million through all wagers made in 2019.
It may seem insane to believe that bettors lost nearly $1 billion in wagers over a 12-month span, but these losses have allowed over $102 million in tax contributions to be dedicated to state governments and an additional $3.3 million sent to local governments for hosting sportsbooks.
This number is not split evenly, as each state taxes its industry at its own level and they only receive contributions from the sports betting that happened within their state lines.
Still, there is no questioning the heavy volume of the sports betting industry. As many believed Nevada would see a sharp decline in their gambling ways or that sports betting is only a hobby that can’t support essential programs operated by the government, people are quickly realizing how untrue this is.
With nearly half of the states in the U.S. having legalized sports betting, the only direction from here is up, so look for plenty more action to occur in 2020.
Michael began writing as an NBA content writer and has spent time scouting college basketball for Florida State University under Leonard Hamilton and the University of Alabama under Anthony Grant. A graduate of both schools, he covers topics focused on legal sports betting, betting odds, and casino reviews. Michael likes to golf, play basketball, hike, and kayak when not glued to the TV watching NBA games.