U.S. players placed nearly US$35 billion on sports bets in 2020

In a year were land-based casinos faced ongoing closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, gamblers increased their spending from their homes, boosting income of this business. To this is added that more and more States are legalizing the activity, enhancing prospects for 2021.

The amount of dollars that are available in the sports betting marketplace is rising exponentially. The next growth phase for this sector may be fueled by new mega deals in media, advertising and sponsorships.
The amount of dollars that are available in the sports betting marketplace is rising exponentially. The next growth phase for this sector may be fueled by new mega deals in media, advertising and sponsorships.

The U.S. sports betting industry saw a great finish to revenue reports in 2020, according to Odds.com (https://www.odds.com/). An amount of 12 of the 19 legal sports betting states, including Washington D.C., have reported December numbers, and again, the U.S. experienced a multi-billion betting handle for the month. States like Illinois, Nevada, and others have yet to report their indicators, but estimations tell about a total of US$3.5 billion to US$4 billion betting handle for December.

Today, the practice is legal in more than a third of the country. Besides, about 90% of all sports betting revenue come from online sources. In that sense, DraftKings and FanDuel are the most widely recognized sportsbook names. Together they comprise roughly 80% of the U.S. market. U.K.-based William Hill and Australian firm PointsBet have been expanding in the U.S. as well, while Caesars and MGM are also benefiting from sports betting expansion. The key story for the activity in 2021 will be the additional States (New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine, Georgia and Connecticut) possibly approving sports betting. By the end of 2021, Shaun Kelley (analyst at Bank of America) forecasts 27 states will have legal sports betting, representing 49% of the U.S. population. The years 2021 and 2022 could add a combined 24% of the U.S. adult population into the sports betting market versus 10% added in 2018 and 23% added in 2019 and 2020.


About December 2020 numbers, Odds.com presents a State by State evaluation that we share here.

1) Arkansas

Handle: US$6,415,446 // Revenue: US$17,200,000 // Taxes: US$137,055

Starting off the reports is Arkansas, which saw the slightest increase to a US$6.4 million betting handle. The State leveled off in the final quarter of 2020 with betting handles of US$6.6 million, US$6.2 million, and US$6.4 million to finish 2020. The State should be happy seeing it hit US$1 million for the first time and has seen revenue growth for six straight months.

2) Colorado

Handle: US$284,600,000 // Revenue: US$1,054,272 // Taxes: US$531,489

Since launching on May 1st, 2020, Colorado’s sports betting market saw nearly US$1.2 billion in wagers in 2020 and capped off the year with record total handle and mobile handle in December. The December sports betting handle of US$284.6 million was a 21.3% increase over November’s US$231.2 million. Total taxes collected in December were US$531,489, a decline from November’s US$793,820. From May to December, total collected taxes were US$3,418,818. Colorado’s strong start to sports betting can be attributed to a competitive online market with about 20 sportsbook operators, favorable regulations and a rabid fan base for its professional and college sports teams. GGR for December amounted to US$17.2 million, which was 6.5% lower than the US$18.4 million from November. When taking into account adjustments such as bonus promotions and a 0.25% Federal excise tax on sports betting handle, the decline was much greater, with net sports betting proceeds (revenue) for the month down 43.3% to US$5.1 million. GGR in the eight-month period reached US$75.8 million and net betting were US$28.3million. Once again, online betting remained by far the main source of income for licensed operators in Colorado. GGR from Internet betting (May to December 2020) stood at US$16.6 million and net sports betting proceeds at US$5.1 million, with players having wagered US$280.4 million online and winning US$263.9 million. In contrast, players spent just US$4.1 million at retail sportsbooks, winning US$3.5 million in the process. Football was the most popular sport to wager on in December, with consumers spending US$88.2 million, followed by professional basketball and college basketball.

3) Delaware

Handle: US$15,696,681 // Revenue: US$3,097,115 // Taxes: US$2,341,189

Delaware saw a bit of a dip to finish out 2020. On December 14th, the State enacted more COVID restrictions, which led to limited capacity at Delaware sportsbooks. The betting handle dipped to US$15.7 million, and revenue was US$3.1 million. This is the second straight month Delaware has seen a decline in betting handle and revenue. With no online sports betting available, the Coronavirus took a toll on the Delaware betting industry.

4) Indiana

Handle: US$313,112,474 // Revenue: US$24,306,695 // Taxes: US$2,309,136

Indiana had a huge month to finish off 2020 with a US$313.1 million betting handle. This is the first time the Hoosier State saw US$300 million bets in a single month, with over US$200 million wagered in the State after launching in September 2019. Revenue did experience a slight decrease from US$25.3 million to US$24.3 million. Regardless, Indiana has proven that the State does not need Illinois to succeed, with continued growth throughout 2020.

5) Iowa

Handle: US$104,815,630 // Revenue: US$7,537,004 // Taxes: US$508,748

For the first time in its State history, Iowa saw the betting handle hit the US$100 million mark. The Hawkeye State has seen continual growth in its betting handle since April and should continue to grow into 2021. Although revenue decreased from November’s US$8.1 million, Iowa should make it up in the early part of 2021. The State began allowing sports bettors to create accounts online instead of in-person. This will allow people to start betting accounts with sportsbooks that aren’t in the area and help people in rural parts of Iowa set up accounts.

6) Michigan

Handle: US$9,720,393 // Revenue: US$1,883,240 // Taxes: US$158,192

This will be the last time Michigan sees sports betting numbers this low in the state. Sportsbooks were closed for a portion of December, with Coronavirus cases spiking and the State taking precautions. However, December was the last month Michigan had in-person betting only. The Great Lake State finally went live with online sports betting since January 22nd, 2021, which will significantly increase the sports betting market in the State. Now, at least nine online operators are permitted to work in the regulated real money online sports betting and casino gaming segment in Michigan.

7) Mississippi

Handle: US$55,298,807 // Revenue: US$7,762,542 // Taxes: US$931,505

Mississippi finished off 2020 with an increase in its betting handle. The State saw US$55.3 million wagered, and revenue hit US$7.8 million, which decreased from US$8.1 million in November. The State is showing great numbers for only having in-person betting. Sen. Scott DeLano filed a mobile betting bill that could be approved by the summer if all goes well. If this happens, Mississippi could perceive the betting handle double in the first few months of mobile betting.

8) New Hampshire                                          

Handle: US$51,649,897 // Revenue: US$4,537,653 // Taxes: US$2,137,406

New Hampshire had a record-setting month in December, with a US$51.6 million betting handle, up from November at US$46.5 million. Although there was a slight decrease in betting revenue, New Hampshire has benefited from online betting and should see revenue rebound in 2021. November also brought an unusually high hold percentage that was over 10% for the month, normally around 8.1%.

9) New Jersey

Handle: US$996,300,794 // Revenue: US$66,386,516 // Taxes: US$8,269,676

New Jersey less than US$4 million shy of hitting the US$1 billion mark in a single month. The Garden State broke another single-month record after passing the US$931.6 million betting handle in November. December also brought the ninth straight month in betting handle growth after New Jersey’s 2020 low in April due to COVID-19. Betting revenue also topped US$60 million for the first time and broke a record in December, with sportsbooks seeing US$66.4 million. New Jersey has become the cash cow for U.S. sports betting, and growth does not look to be slowing anytime soon.

10) Oregon

Handle: US$26,987,303 // Revenue: US$3,050,785 // Taxes: —

Oregon reported a US$26.9 million betting handle for the month, which is down from the high of US$29.5 million in October. The Beaver State could be getting a makeover with its sports betting industry, however. Gov. Kate Brown is looking to move away from the lottery system, which has hindered the growth of sports betting revenue in Oregon. States like Iowa, Rhode Island, West Virginia and others have had better numbers, despite being smaller in population.

11) Pennsylvania

Handle: US$548,590,065 // Revenue: US$45,344,348 // Taxes: US$12,261,434

Pennsylvania hit an all-time high in December, with US$548.6 million wagered for the month. It rebounded from November’s dip of US$491.9 million betting handle and broke October’s US$525.8 million months. The Keystone State has benefitted from sportsbooks entering the market, like Barstool Sportsbook and BetMGM. Both online operators are expected to have a strong presence in Pennsylvania and across the U.S.

12) Washington D.C.

Handle: US$16,696,995 // Revenue: US$2,708,652 // Taxes: US$190,144 (Commercial Operators Only)

Washington D.C. has been struggling with using a lottery system in the District, and the numbers continue to reflect that. GameBet DC, the lottery app used, saw a betting handle of US$4.3 million in December, compared to William Hill hitting US$12.4 million. Although William Hill had a decrease in its betting handle, it still generates three times more action than GameBet. The high hold percentage GameBet offers makes it a less desirable app, as the odds are not in favor of a bettor. If Washington D.C. continues to grow its betting market, then GameBet might become irrelevant in 2021.

13) West Virginia

Handle: US$70,134,202 // Revenue: US$6,466,132 // Taxes: US$646,613

The Mountaineer State finishes off the list with a reported US$70 million betting handle, which was a huge boost after seeing back-to-back months with the handle below US$50 million. West Virginia does share its betting numbers differently, however. The State does a weekly report, and December saw an additional four days added to its information. November 29-30 and January 1-2 were added to the report. Four days doesn’t seem like a lot, but when the days add NFL Sunday and New Year’s Day bowl games, it makes a big difference. Still, the State most likely would have seen an increase regardless of adding the two key days into December.