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Home run: Florida set for big score following record U.S. sports betting month

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If September’s record sports betting month is any indication, Florida’s Hard Rock Sportsbook app is headed for a monumental start.

According to the latest data compiled by PlayUSA, a leading source for news and analysis on the U.S. regulated gaming industry, regulated U.S. sportsbooks took in more than $5 billion in wagers over a single month for the first time in history. Legal sports betting jurisdictions reported that sportsbooks handled nearly $5.2 billion in wagers in September, a month that saw a surge in betting across the country with a full schedule of college football and the beginning of the NFL season. In total, those legal sportsbooks netted $412.5 million in gross revenue from those bets.

“Football has created a wave of bettor enthusiasm that has met the higher end of our expectations, but the increase is more than just interest in a single sport or an expansion of legalized sports betting into new states,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network. “Relatively young markets such as Michigan and Virginia, where bettors got their first opportunity to wager on regular season football through online sportsbooks, expectedly saw a massive surge in interest. But New Jersey and Nevada posted record months, too, signaling a similar broadening in the most mature markets in the U.S.”

The country’s first $5 billion month was driven largely by longtime sports betting states — New Jersey ($1.01 billion), Nevada ($787.7 million), and Illinois ($596.5 million) — as well as states that allowed legal sports betting in some form in September. Excluding new markets, nine jurisdictions set monthly handle records and six posted new highs in gross revenue. That includes a $1 billion handle in New Jersey, the first time bettors poured more than $1 billion into any single state’s sportsbooks over the course of a month.

PlayUSA noted that the previous U.S. record for a month was the $4.6 billion that was wagered in March. By comparison, betting in September is up 80.6 percent so far from the $2.9 billion in wagers legal U.S. sportsbooks attracted in September 2020.

Despite the impressive month, however, PlayUSA expects the record to fall sooner than later. PlayUSA pointed to October’s five weekends of football as a catalyst, as well as the beginning of the NBA and NHL seasons in addition to baseball’s recent postseason.

The group also highlighted Florida’s emergence in the sports betting arena, after the Hard Rock Sportsbook app, run exclusively by the Florida Seminole Tribe, launched at the beginning of November, allowing Florida users to legally place bets on sporting events in the state. News of the Florida sports betting app comes on the heels of a historic compact struck in April between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminoles, just one week before the 2021 Legislative Session was set to end. It was overwhelmingly approved with bipartisan support by the Florida Legislature in May and it was deemed approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior in August.

“The U.S. sports betting market has not yet come close to reaching its ceiling,” said Eric Ramsey, data analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network. “Florida recently launched sports betting, and other large states such as Ohio and California continue to grapple with legalization. Every established sports betting state in the U.S. is still growing. So, records will continue to be in jeopardy for the foreseeable future.”

Thus far, Iowa is the only major legal sports jurisdiction to report October data, recording $280.9 million during the month — shattering the state record set in September by 33.5 percent.

To view total revenue information on sports betting and online gaming in every legal market in the U.S., click here.

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