US sports bets hit $9 billion a year after court ruling
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — At least $9 billion has been bet —legally— on sports in the U.S. in the year since New Jersey’s victory in a U.S. Supreme Court case cleared the way for other states to do it.
Together with Nevada, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, the total so far is $8.9 billion, not counting figures from those states for last month. New Mexico allows sports bets under a tribal compact, but does not publicly report its betting statistics.
The total number is probably closer to $10 billion but most states have not yet reported their May numbers.
Figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show gamblers bet $319 million on sports in May.
New Jersey took its first sports bets last June. Since then, the state’s casinos and racetracks have taken in $2.94 billion.
The numbers are delighting gambling companies and are heartening to New Jersey officials.
“Overall the first year in New Jersey has been spectacular, but to be honest, I couldn’t give you enough positive adjectives to serve justice to the question,” said Johnny Avello, head of digital sportsbooks for DraftKings. “The future is mind-blowing, and with eight states active and an additional seven authorized to offer sports wagering in 2019, DraftKings is positioned to capitalize on these and subsequent markets.”
FanDuel, which has taken the lead in New Jersey, called its first year of operations here “an amazing experience.”
“New Jersey has shown how sports betting can benefit the state by setting up a competitive marketplace with retail and online operators working to better serve their customers and other states should be taking their lead from New Jersey,” said CEO Matt King. “From a company standpoint, we went through a merger, opened a retail destination and started online all within months of PASPA’s repeal and a year later, we are the market leader. It has been a proud moment for all of us.”
However, states are finding the tax revenue generated by sports betting has been small, accounting for an almost insignificant part of their state budgets.
New Jersey’s Supreme Court win overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a law that had restricted sports betting to four states that met a 1991 deadline to legalize such activity.
“It’s been a great first year, and I think the strong momentum is going to continue over the next 12 months,” added Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US. “The business is still ramping up.”
New Jersey’s nine casinos and the two tracks that offer sports betting — the Meadowlands in East Rutherford and Monmouth Park in Oceanport —saw their total gambling revenue hit nearly $277 million in May, up more than 27% from May 2018. (There were two fewer casinos in operation then, though.)
In terms of sports betting revenue, the Meadowlands, where FanDuel is the sport book, remained the clear leader in May with nearly $8.7 million. Resorts Digital, backed by DraftKings, had over $4.1 million in revenue. Monmouth Park had $1.35 million. No other casino approached $1 million in sports betting revenue.
Nevada remains the nation’s biggest sports betting market; such betting has been legal there for years. Since May 2018, Nevada sports books have handled more than $5.2 billion worth of bets, not counting this May, for which figures have yet to be released.
Over that same time period, Mississippi saw $269 million worth of bets; Pennsylvania saw $162 million; Delaware nearly $155 million; West Virginia nearly $110 million, and Rhode Island $93 million.
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