When the Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was unconstitutional, individual states were immediately in a position to legalize sports betting. And while some states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania jumped right in, it took a little while for the majority to follow suit. However, as of June 2022, there are now 30 states with legal sports betting markets.
Of those 30 states, there are only 6 that have yet to legalize online sports betting, but that will likely change as the states such as North Carolina have made moves to create an online market.
Both retail and mobile sports betting generated an estimated $4.29 billion in revenue through the twelve months of 2021. This surpassed the revenue generated during the same period in 2020 by an impressive 366.2%. However, as you may have guessed this can be attributed to the legalization of sports betting and the launch of regulated markets in multiple states throughout the year.
While we don’t have exact figures for mobile sports betting, it’s worth noting that in their monthly revenue reports, state gaming commissions often state that online wagers account for 90%+ of all revenue generated.
Take New York for example. Retail sports betting officially launched in the state back in 2019, but New York rarely made headlines with the revenue generated from sports betting. However, that all changed when New York launched mobile sports betting in January 2022. Industry analysts predicted that mobile sports betting would be worth an estimated $500 million per year, but they underestimated the popularity of online sportsbooks by a long way.
In the first three weeks of operation, NY sportsbooks accepted over $1.68 billion in wagers. This comfortably beat the previous all-time monthly record of $1.35 billion set by neighboring New Jersey. During that time, mobile wagers accounted for 98.81% of all sports betting activity as sports fans placed $1.67 billion in wagers online.
New York is certainly an exceptional case, but the popularity of mobile sports betting and the incredible boost in revenue generated once it was legalized is indicative of the industry as a whole. Yes, sports betting is popular, but mobile sports betting is by far the preferred choice of the average sports fan.
As mentioned earlier, North Carolina is currently discussing legislation that will legalize mobile sports betting in the state. The Tar Heel State is one of the six states that allows retail sports betting at casinos but has yet to approve mobile betting. This could change soon as two bills have been introduced and approved by a House committee. While one was narrowly defeated by a vote of 51-50, it’s likely that legislation will be approved at some point in the near future.
Then there are the states such as Kansas and Maine that have yet to launch their sports betting markets but that have passed legislation. These states will see their industries launch in the coming months with mobile sports wagering considered to be an integral component of their regulated markets.
That leaves states such as Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and California where public support for sports betting is strong and it is only a matter of time before legislation is passed. In fact, Florida recently attempted to push through mobile sports betting with an amended gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. This would have given the Seminole complete control over the mobile sports betting market for an incredible 30 years. This has since been struck down by a federal judge and is now the subject of much debate.
Kentucky narrowly missed out on passing legislation for sports betting that included provisions for mobile sportsbooks in April of 2022. There was strong support for the bill, but there wasn’t enough time in the legislative session to push it through.
Whatever happens in the near future, one thing is clear — mobile sportsbooks are the key driver of success for the US sports betting industry and thanks to the success of New York, state legislators are more aware of this than ever before. All this means that within the next decade or so, mobile sports betting could become the biggest gambling revenue generator in the United States.