The good news – sports betting is not dead yet. However, the impact of the global pandemic and the resulting shutdown of the major sporting leagues both in the United States and abroad has bitten hard into the numbers for online sportsbooks across the nation.
The fledgling industry had been booming in the almost-two-years since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports wagering back in May 2018. Since then, 20 states have decided upon legal sports betting for themselves and many states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware had been reporting record sports betting numbers month-on-month. Until March 2020 that is.
March 2020 Sports Betting Numbers
Without the traditionally huge March Madness college basketball betting season and the lack of other major sports for more than half of March 2020, we saw the sports betting handle across the U.S fall 65% from the February results.
Revenue raised from sports wagering also took a hit, decreasing by 58% from February to March finishing at $37.8 million.
Compared to March 2019, the March 2020 sports betting handle of $604.8 million fell a disappointing 45%, while revenue fell 56% over the same annual time period.
Checking the reported numbers from the 7 legal sports betting states reporting results last year compared to 2020, we see the betting handle dropped by an average of 55 percent and revenue fell a whopping 67 per cent.
State by State Sports Betting Numbers
Every state that has so far reported their March 2020 numbers has taken a hit, with Delaware the least affected with a 46.7% decrease in sports betting handle, while sport’s betting king-pin state, Nevada, took the biggest hit (due to their higher than average land-based sports betting numbers compared to online) at 71.1 per cent.
March 2020 sports betting results compared to February 2020
- Delaware handle down 46.7%
- Indiana handle down 60%
- Iowa handle down 65.6%
- Mississippi handle down 68.8%
- Nevada handle down 71.1%
- New Hampshire handle down 58.9%
- New Jersey handle down 63.2%
- Oregon handle down 56.9%
- Pennsylvania handle down 60.2%
- Rhode Island handle down 68.2%
- West Virginia handle down 62.9%
Out of disaster comes opportunity
True, nobody saw the widespread and total shutdown for the U.S. and global major sports coming. No-one ever imagined the hiatus would last weeks, and then stretch into months. Almost certainly no-one would dare possibly think how dramatically the sports wagering world would change overnight. However, out of the sports betting darkness has emerged a world of creativity to supply a range of exciting and inventive betting opportunities for suffering bettors.
Betting on eSports has sky-rocketed and its even managed to capture the attention and betting interest of NASCAR fans who can now look forward to full season of 2020 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series to place their wagers on.
Interest in the soccer leagues of Belarus, Nicaragua and Turkmenistan is booming, and baseball fans are getting a fill of excellent betting action from the Korean and Nicaraguan leagues.
Other non-traditional big betting sports have leapt into the limelight and placing wagers on the Table Tennis leagues in the Ukraine, Russia and the Czech Republic is starting to develop into big business.
So popular has Table Tennis wagering become, that sportsbooks like FanDuel in New Jersey are even running a fan-based, $10 000 prize, Table Tennis sports betting tournament.
Of course, everyone can’t wait for the MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL to reboot or start their respective seasons. However, on the other hand, it will be interesting to see what the April and May 2020 betting handle numbers look like as the online sportsbooks passion and innovation began to take hold.