US Sports Betting Boom: Mobile Sportsbook Apps Drive Record-Setting December

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New Jersey nearly produced the first $1 billion betting handle month in the history of US sports betting in December. Driven by the strength of its mobile sportsbook apps, the Garden State ended 2020 in its familiar spot atop the domestic sports betting industry.

Five of the top six US sports betting markets realized significant month-to-month betting handle gains. Indiana (24.5% month-to-month increase) and Colorado (23.1% increase) represented the biggest gainers in this month’s Gaming Today betting handle roundup.

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and Colorado all achieved new all-time monthly betting handle records in December 2020. December marks the latest month that offers full sports wagering handle data, so this roundup takes a look at mobile vs. retail betting handle in the top six US sports betting markets for December 2020.

December 2020 Betting Handle (Top Six US Markets)

 Overall Betting HandleMobile Betting Handle% Handle From MobileMTM Handle Change
New Jersey$996,300,794$929,331,84193.3%+6.9%
Nevada$588,014,493$352,182,66359.9%-3.5%
Pennsylvania$548,590,065$535,209,73997.6%+11.5%
Illinois$491,720,536$491,720,536100.0%+9.5%
Indiana$313,112,474$263,072,90584.0%+24.5%
Colorado$284,551,472$280,443,91098.1%+98.6%
Totals$3,222,289,833$2,851,961,59488.5%+8.7%

1. NJ Sports Betting ($996,300,794 overall, 93.3% from mobile)

New Jersey topped the US in monthly betting handle in all 12 months of 2020. The nation’s biggest sports betting market realized month-to-month handle gains in each of the last eight months of the year.

December marked another new all-time high for New Jersey, with state sportsbooks taking $996.3 million in bets. The first $1 billion betting handle month in US history will likely happen soon, and will come from New Jersey.

December’s numbers took New Jersey over the $6 billion betting handle mark for 2020. Of that total, 91.9% of wagers came from online sportsbooks, including 93.3% in December.

Powered by mobile sports betting apps from FanDuel and DraftKings, New Jersey stands to rule the US sports betting market for the foreseeable future. New York online sports betting legalization notwithstanding, New Jersey could go wire-to-wire and lead the US sports industry across all of 2021.

New Jersey betting handle reports from the Division of Gaming Enforcement can be seen here.

2. Nevada Sports Betting ($588,014,493 overall, 59.9% from mobile)

Of the top six US sports betting markets, Nevada was the only state to see a dropoff in month-to-month betting handle. Betting handle declined in Nevada for the third consecutive month, with a 3.5% drop from November to December.

Nevada still hosts the most viable retail sports wagering market in the US by far. Land-based casino sportsbooks produced $235.8 million in bets in December and $1.86 billion total in 2020.

Despite the strong influence of Las Vegas sportsbooks, mobile wagering still accounted for 56.5% of overall betting handle for Nevada in December. Nevada requires in-person registration for online sportsbook accounts, and major players like DraftKings and FanDuel are absent from the state’s sports betting market.

Nevada stands as a perennial force in US sports betting, but the mobile-dominated markets of other US states continue to chip away at Nevada’s market share. The sports betting revenue breakdown from the Nevada Gaming Control Board is available here.

3. PA Sports Betting ($548,590,065 overall, 97.6% from mobile)

Pennsylvania hit a new monthly betting handle high, bolstered almost entirely by mobile wagering. Pennsylvania sportsbooks generated $548.6 million in wagers in December, with 97.6% of bets coming from mobile sports betting apps.

The Keystone State hosts one of the most competitive mobile wagering markets in the US. Barstool Sportsbook emerged as a force in the second half of 2020, while brands like BetRivers and FOX Bet hold their own in the Pennsylvania market.

Pennsylvania gains on Nevada for the No. 2 spot in the US sports betting industry with each passing month. Pennsylvania functions as the nation’s second-largest mobile sports betting market, but the strength of Las Vegas retail sportsbooks makes Nevada the No. 2 overall US market in the December rankings.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s monthly betting handle reports can be viewed here.

4. Illinois Sports Betting ($491,720,536 overall, 100% from mobile)

Illinois casinos were shuttered for the entire month of December, but that didn’t stop Illinois’ sports betting industry from reaching a new monthly betting handle high. With 100% of bets coming from online sportsbooks, Illinois generated $491.7 in betting handle in December.

Since launching mobile sports betting in June, Illinois experienced month-to-month betting handle gains in every month of 2020. December’s betting handle reports from the Illinois Gaming Board showed a 9.5% betting handle gain over November.

Illinois could contend for the No. 3 or even No. 2 overall sports betting market in the US at some point in 2021. Despite only five operational mobile sports betting brands, the Land of Lincoln has surged into status as one of the nation’s most important sports betting hubs.

5. Indiana Sports Betting ($313,112,474 overall, 84.0% from mobile)

Indiana marks yet another state that achieved new sports betting heights in December. Sportsbooks in the Hoosier State crossed the $300 million mark for the first time, taking $313.1 million in sports wagers.

Indiana’s land-based casinos make up more of the state’s overall betting handle than some of the other state’s in this month’s Gaming Today roundup. Mobile sports betting apps still generated 84% of all bets taken in Indiana in December, however.

The 24.5% month-to-month gain stands as the highest increase in any of the top six US sports betting markets in December. You can view the monthly revenue reports from the Indiana Gaming Commission here.

6. Colorado Sports Betting ($284,551,472 overall, 98.6% from mobile)

Colorado’s sports betting industry continues to expand steadily each month. With 16 different online sportsbooks to choose from, Colorado bettors put down $284.5 million in December wagers.

Similar to Illinois, Colorado’s sportsbooks have generated a month-to-month handle increase every month since launching in May. With retail sports betting confined to only a few areas in the state, Colorado should continue to operate as a mobile-driven sports betting state for years to come.

The Colorado Division of Gaming’s monthly report can be viewed here.

About the Author

Geoff Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff is an avid sports fan, but poker is his passion.

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