Which states rank the highest when it comes to sports betting handles? Will Nevada, home to Las Vegas, take top spot?
Sports betting has taken the US by storm. Back in 2018, a few states such as Delaware, Mississippi and Nevada legalised sports betting but 2020 really saw the betting vertical take off. One of the main reasons was due to the unexpected COVID-19 virus which had a massive impact on several states' economies. To counter this economic downturn many states turned to sports and online betting as a new source of revenue. This decision proved successful with many states recording huge handles and revenues.
We take a look at the top 10 states in the US were sports betting is the most popular in 2020. Will Nevada, home to Las Vegas, take top spot?
Coming in at tenth place is Tennessee with a sports betting handle of $312,344,523. This is quite an impressive feat considering that the state only legalised and launched online sports betting in November last year. Tennessee's bill to approve sports betting specifically allows online and mobile sports betting platforms, therefore, retail sports books are not allowed to operate.
Tennessee's top sports books:
Unlike Tennessee, Mississippi boast a retail sports betting presence, however, mobile betting is restricted as locals are not allowed to utilise online sports betting outside of casino walls. The state has registered a handle of $363,875,648, which shows how Mississippians are willing to go out and place a bet at their nearest sports book. During 2020, sports betting was not available during the month of April due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Mississippi's top sports book:
- William Hill
8. West Virginia
The mountain state is certainly becoming a staple for online and sports betting, recording a betting handle of $414,855,266 in 2020. West Virginia was the fifth state in the US to legalise sports betting back in 2018. The Mountain state then took a hiatus from sports betting, as there was a pause in operations for 6 months during 2019. However, last year saw West Virginia bounce back with a handle nearly reaching half a billion.
West Virginia's top sports books:
- William Hill
Coming in at 7th place is Iowa, a state that legalised online sports betting in 2019. It has become a fully fledged sports betting state recording over half a billion in sports betting handles for 2020 ($575,239,746). Online sports betting has certainly helped the state record such a big handle, especially due to the restrictions implemented for a few months in 2020.
Iowa's top sportsbooks:
Colorado comes in at number 6 and breaks the billion dollar mark in sports betting handles. The state recorded a handle of $1,185,754,618 in 2020. What is more impressive is that sports betting launched on 1st of May 2020, meaning that it is missing four months of potential betting handle. If sports betting was legalised in the beginning of 2020, Colorado would definitely be higher up the list.
Colorado's sports books:
- Betrivers (Rush Street Interactive)
Both online and retail sports betting are legal in the state resulting in a handle amounting to $1,769,270,606. The state is home to the Indiana Pacers and people in the Hoosier State have shown their support for their home team as basketball is the top ranked betting sport in Indiana, with football coming in second.
Indiana's top sports books:
Illinois burst into the sports betting scene in 2020, recording a betting handle of $1,882,363,596. The amount recorded is massive considering that sports betting was only introduced in 2020, overtaking states who legalised sports betting states in 2018 with ease. This may be due to the fact that Illinois is home to the Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and Chicago Fire (soccer).
Illinois' top sports books:
- William Hill
Starting our top 3 is the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is known for its sporting culture with cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh all falling under the state. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the recorded sports betting handle for 2020 amounted to $3,580,864,477. Sports betting, both online and retail, will likely continue to grow in 2021 especially if the Sixers have a successful postseason.
Pennsylvania's top sports books:
One would think that with Las Vegas under their helm, Nevada should of ranked number one in the US, but that's not the case. Nevada still recorded an admirable $4,340,581,399 in sports betting handle. Having said that, the reported amount is said to be their worst performance since 2015 and down $1billion compared to 2019. The pandemic certainly played its part with the Las Vegas strip closing for a number of months.
Nevada top sports book:
- William Hill
- Golden Nugget
Before we announce the number one state in the US when it comes to sports betting handle, here are a few honourable mentions that did not make the top 10 list.
New Hampshire - $292,594,088
Oregon - $281,246,357
Rhode Island - $221,916,076
Michigan - $130,763,490
Delaware - $90,242,755
1. New Jersey
The number one state in the whole of the US is New Jersey, ousting Nevada for top spot. December proved to be a monstrous month for New Jersey with the sports betting handle recorded for the month just off $1billion, totalling $996million. The total sports betting handle for 2020 in New Jersey amounted to a mammoth $6,016,968,399 with Nevada some $2billion off the pace.
New Jersey's top sports books:
The end of this year may see new entries enter the fold as other states are looking at the legalisation of sports betting. It will be interesting to see whether Nevada will claim this years top spot or if New Jersey can hold on.
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