Jacob Wayne, analyst at sports data firm LineUps.com, brings us the latest monthly round-up of sports wagering revenue and expert insights from across the US.
November 2021 saw states across the country bring in historical sports betting volume as the enterprise continued to explode. With football season well underway and basketball season starting to peak, most sports bettors would say this is the best time of year for the industry. Sportsbooks cleaned up in November with underdogs in the NFL covering at almost a 60% rate, leading to the betting public largely getting clobbered last month. As a result, states posted record-high revenue amounts even when some didn’t surpass previous highs for their handle. November had one fewer weekend than October, leading to slightly less volume overall across the country, but states more than made up for it with their impressive revenue totals.
We also saw sportsbooks bounce back in a big way in terms of hold rate in November. At the beginning of the fall, the start of the football season, sportsbooks were doling out promotions and bonuses like they were lollipops at a doctor’s office to boost customer acquisition in states that had not previously had sports betting markets during a football season. Now that the markets are settling in states and customer acquisition is not as significant a focus, we have seen the hold rate or win rate shift the other direction. The typical industry average hold rate is around 7%, and most of the biggest markets well exceeded that number in November.
In this article, I’ll look at some of the biggest sports betting markets across the country and discuss their successes and trends to look out for moving forward. Usually, Nevada would be in this article, but at the time I’m writing this, we do not yet have numbers reported for that state. Instead, I’ll be discussing some newer markets and their record-high numbers in November 2021.
Handle: $1,258,189,436 Revenue: $114,788,726 Hold Rate: 9.1% Taxes: $14,595,181
The results have been exceptional for New Jersey lately. It recently surpassed Nevada as the state with the most significant sports betting handle ever reported in a single month despite Nevada having decades of its legal market being available. New Jersey’s November handle of $1.26 billion fell just short of $1.3 billion in October, but it’s now well on pace to finish 2021 as the first state ever to handle over $10 billion in sports bets in a calendar year. November saw New Jersey bring in a record-high $114.8 million in revenue, and it became the first state with over $100 million in revenue in a month. In November 2020, New Jersey reported $50.6 million in revenue, so we’ve seen a 125% year-over-year increase. In November, basketball was the most popular sport with just under $500 million in wagers, while football followed behind with $400 million in wagers. Neighboring state New York is on its way to a legal sports betting launch, potentially as soon as January, and New Jersey will surely lose some of its massive handle to the sleeping giant next door.
Handle: $761,574,597 Revenue: $84,921,693 Hold Rate: 11.2% Taxes: $22,922,758
Like New Jersey, Pennsylvania’s November handle was down slightly from $776.3 million in October, the state’s record-high. However, revenue was up 101% month-over-month to a record-high $49.3 million as the state’s hold rate increased massively from 5.4% in October to 11.2% in November. The state’s sports betting handle was up just over 55% year-over-year from $491 million in November 2020. Sports betting operators paid $21.3 million in promos, the most ever in a month, but Pennsylvania’s revenue was still impressive. On a 36% tax rate, one of the highest in the country, the state collected a record-high $22.9 million in tax receipts. The previous record was $12.3 million in June 2021. FanDuel is the leading operator in Pennsylvania and reported a November handle of $241.9 million, representing 31.8% of the total market. DraftKings trailed behind with $217 million in sports betting handle, a 28.5% market share. FanDuel far surpassed DraftKings in terms of revenue. However, it reported $37.4 million in revenue (15.5% hold rate) to $16 million (7% hold rate) for DraftKings.
Handle: $500,521,376 Revenue: $58,448,729 Hold Rate: 11.7% Taxes: $1,966,646
November was a phenomenal month for Michigan, not just due to Michigan finally vanquishing its longtime rival in Ohio State. Michigan became the fifth state to generate over $500 million in handle in a month after New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. That $500.5 million handle reported doesn’t include the three tribal casinos in the state, as they are not required to register monthly retail numbers. November’s handle narrowly beat out October’s prior record of $497.6 million by 0.6%. Michigan also reported its highest hold rate since launching the legal market in January, as well as the state’s record-high tax amount that pushed it over $10 million in all-time tax receipts from sports betting. DraftKings led the state with $126.3 million in total wagers, a 26.7% market share, while FanDuel trailed with $124.1 million in wagers, a 24.3% market share. BetMGM surprisingly had $110.4 million in sports bets, bringing it much closer to the two giants than sportsbooks are in most other states.
Handle: $463,684,739 Revenue: $47,654,492 Hold Rate: 10.3% Taxes: $4,527,177
November was another record-breaking month for Indiana as it surpassed its previous high of $461.1 million in sports bets placed in October. The state also surpassed its revenue record with $47.7 million putting Indiana up over 40% from the previous record of $27.7 million in September 2021. The NFL led the way with $136.3 million in wagers, representing 29.4% of the total handle, but Indiana loves its basketball, and it saw $132.1 million in basketball wagers, 28.5% of the market. Indiana also shattered its previous record of $3.2 million in taxes, bringing in $4.5 million in tax receipts in November. Online sports betting generated $422.9 million in total wagers, 91.2% of the overall handle. DraftKings led the online market with $166.2 million in its total handle, good for a 39.3% market share, while FanDuel trailed with $109.8 million in handle, giving it a 26% market share. However, as we’ve seen in many states, FanDuel still surpassed its rival with $15.6 million in revenue (14.2% hold rate) compared to $12.6 million (7.6% hold rate) for DraftKings.
Handle: $287,247,116 Revenue: $19,746,266 Hold Rate: 6.9% Taxes: $2,063,733
With $287.2 million in total sports bets, November was the third-straight month with a new all-time record handle for Iowa. With another $225 million in December, Iowa will surpass $2 billion in sports bets for the calendar year. Iowa’s revenue reached new heights as November’s total surpassed the previous record of $13.4 million in March by over 47%. November was also just the third time in state history that it has been over eight figures in sports betting revenue in a month. Iowa has now generated over $100 million in total revenue for the year, more than doubling $41 million in 2020. November also brought a significant increase to Iowa’s hold rate as it had been under 3% in September and October, the two worst months in that regard in state history. In a rare occurrence compared to other states, Caesars led Iowa with $104 million in total sports bets placed and $4.7 million in revenue. FanDuel ($32.7 million handle) and DraftKings ($75.1 million handle) also cleared $4 million in revenue, but they were significantly behind Caesars in terms of total bets placed for the month.
Handle: $131,729,179 Revenue: $16,655,205 Hold Rate: 12.6% Taxes $596,018
The Connecticut legal sports betting market only launched on October 19, but the state is already seeing impressive results. Connecticut’s $131.7 million sports betting handle will make it a top-ten state in its first full month of sports betting, although not all states have reported their November numbers yet. Still, on a 14% tax rate which is one of the highest in the country, Connecticut has already generated over $1.7 million in tax receipts from sports betting in under two months of activity. Connecticut has three sports betting licenses belonging to DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive’s PlaySugarHouse. DraftKings led the state with a $60 million sports betting handle in November and generated $5.1 million in revenue. FanDuel brought in $59 million in total wagers but surpassed DraftKings with $6 million in revenue. PlaySugarHouse saw a total of $7.7 million in its sports betting handle. Retail sportsbooks were also very successful, with $750,000 in revenue on $4.2 million in total bets representing an impressive 17.8% hold rate.