American Sports Betting Market Surpasses $250 Billion Handle With NFL Boost Approaching

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
Football news


  • The market has grown over $50 billion in less than six months
  • 38 states (plus Washington D.C.) have legalized sports betting
  • The upcoming NFL season should catalyze another jump in betting handle

Five years ago, sports betting was nothing more than a concept that existed only in Las Vegas. Now, the American market has produced over $250 billion in combined wagers.

The repeal of PAPSA opened the floodgates for states to legalize their local wagering markets. Despite hesitation and speculation (which still continue in different states), legal sports betting has been a resounding hit and is now becoming interwoven with the fabric of sports themselves.

It took less than six months for the market to go from $200 billion to $250 billion. With the NFL season a couple of weeks away, a $300 billion national handle could be a reality before 2024.

Standout states

Delaware became the first state after Nevada to legalize sports betting on June 5, 2018. A total of 38 states (plus Washington D.C.) have come to accept sports betting legally and have helped create what is quickly becoming the largest draw in sports entertainment.

New York has been far and away the most productive sports betting jurisdiction on a per-month basis (roughly $1.49 billion per month). Such was evident from the first moments of the market’s launch when it produced a billion-dollar handle in less than a full month in January 2019.

Next-door New Jersey, however, has the highest total handle of any state with about $39.47 billion in total wagers accepted.

The top 10 states (through June 2023) have contributed over $205 billion of the nation’s quarter-of-a-trillion-dollar handle. Those states include New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Arizona, and Virginia.

Florida, the third-most populated state in the USA, legalized sports betting but had to close its market shortly after it launched because of disputes over the compact used as the framework for the wagering market. That dispute led to rounds of debate in the U.S. District Court and Court of Appeals, and although a decision was recently made, a rehearing, or even a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely.

California, Texas, and Georgia are also three of the 12 states that have not yet legalized sports betting. Their combined populations plus Florida’s represent about 30% of the United States, which shows the extreme potential for growth the American market still possesses.

Trajectory of the market

Five states have monthly betting handles of at least $1 billion, and the national monthly betting handle has exceeded $5 billion for 22 consecutive months. There have also been 37 instances in which a state recorded a monthly betting handle exceeding $1 billion.

The average American monthly betting handle is around $9 billion in 2023. That number has also come mostly without the massive influence of football and the NFL, both of which have been gone since the Super Bowl in February. They will return for the September betting handles and will inevitably push the numbers even higher, just as they do every year.

More states are also on track to join the fold before the year’s end, including Kentucky, which will start with retail-only wagering before launching its online market.

In addition, sports bettors will have a wider choice of online sportsbooks during and beyond the NFL season. Fanatics will take over PointsBet’s assets and legal jurisdictions and is offering a brand-new rewards system called Fancash, which lets users acquire tokens they can spend on more bets or at Fanatics’ online shop.

Disney-owned ESPN also recently partnered with PENN Entertainment in a $2 billion deal that will lead to the creation of ESPN Bet, a sportsbook that ESPN can offer in conjunction with its usual sports coverage and media enterprise.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.