It’s no secret that US legal sports betting is growing. Rapidly. The most obvious way this growth is being generated is through new states passing legislation and going live with sportsbook apps. The clearest example so far is when New York sports betting entered the fray in January and immediately became the largest wagering state in the country as measured by betting handle. New York will likely account for something in the region of $20 billion wagered by the end of 2022.
So are the new states the only driver of growth? What about states where sports betting has been legal for a year or two? Has the initial surge of interest levelled off or are they also growing? We take a look at the five biggest online betting states that have been live since the beginning of 2021 and compare the betting handle totals from Q1 2021 to 2022.
Q1 2021 Handle: $2.561 billion
Q1 2022 Handle: $3.455 billion
Before New York crashed the party, New Jersey sports betting was king of the castle. New Jersey was the first state to legalize online sports betting and so you might guess that the novelty factor might have worn off by now. There was also a fear that the entry of New York would erode the dollar totals wagered in the Garden State.
But NJ sports bettors are showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s the opposite. In the first quarter of 2022, they bet almost $1 billion more than in the same period of 2021. That equated to almost 35% growth. If ever there was a reason to be bullish about the ongoing prospects of US sports betting, this “mature” state growth might be at the top of the list.
Q1 2021 Handle: $1.685 billion
Q1 2022 Handle: $2.106 billion
Pennsylvania sports betting has also been around for a relatively long time now. It launched in May of 2019 and has been another of the largest earners for US sportsbooks. One factor that has held it back from really competing with New Jersey was the higher tax rates imposed on sportsbooks in PA. This in turn stymies marketing budgets and promotions.
Despite this, Pennsylvania saw 25% growth in the first quarter of 2022. Between January and March of this year, PA sports bettors put over $2 billion on the line. That was an increase of over $400 million from 2021.
Q1 2021 Handle: $938.8 million
Q1 2022 Handle: $1.386 billion
Famous for its interest in basketball, the Indiana sports betting market has been quietly going about its business. It first launched in October of 2019 and would also be considered a relatively mature betting market at this point.
That’s what makes the 2022 growth so intriguing. Indiana online sportsbooks saw a massive 47.6% increase in handle this year vs the first quarter of 2021. It’s also not as if the boost was provided by a local team going on a tear. The Colts had a pretty average 9-8 season while the Pacers have been pretty awful. Purdue men did provide some additional interest during March Madness but whatever the reason, Indiana sports bettors are certainly putting their money where their mouths are.
Q1 2021 Handle: $894.4 million
Q1 2022 Handle: $1.520 billion
If the growth figures in Indiana were remarkable, they pale in comparison to Colorado. There was a 70% increase in the betting handle in Q1 2022 compared to 2021. It was a truly incredible leap forward for Colorado sports betting.
Colorado was a little slower to launch legal online sports betting in the first place, coming to market in May of 2020. Since then, sports fans in the Centennial State have shown a wide interest in sports across the board. But to go from averaging around $300 million to around $500 million a month just one year later has caught most analysts by surprise.
Q1 2021 Handle: $593.5 million
Q1 2022 Handle: $1.070 billion
Tennessee sports betting launched in November of 2020 and has proven a popular entertainment choice in the Volunteer State. While there have been a smaller number of online betting apps available there, they do include some of the top names in the business like BetMGM and DraftKings.
Astonishingly, 2022 handle in the first quarter is up 80% on the year previous. That meant Tennessee joined the ranks of states where more than $1 billion was bet in a three-month period. It’s also the biggest gainer of all the established states.
So while most of the attention goes to new state launches like Arizona in 2021 or New York in 2022, the underlying engine of established legal betting states is driving forward with huge momentum. How much longer this growth can last remains to be seen but for now it’s full steam ahead.