Part of the growth of legal sports betting in early 2023 (and also in 2022) was its expanded jurisdiction. Ohio and Massachusetts both launched their markets in 2023 (Ohio on January 1 and Massachusetts on March 10), and Kansas is still growing into its market, formed later in 2022.
Ohio has been the biggest hit of those three so far, coming up with $387.3 million in revenue during the first quarter. A major part of that was the Cincinnati Bengals’ success in reaching the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, who ultimately went on to win the Super Bowl. It now only trails the more densely-populated New York in as far as revenue and betting handle goes.
Another big help was the yearly period of “March Madness,” an annual college basketball tournament the AGA estimated would draw over $15 billion in wagers nationwide.
Above all, the resounding success of sports betting can be attributed to a changing climate in the entertainment world. Sports betting, which was illegal everywhere outside of Nevada as recently as 2018, is quickly becoming an integral part of sports patronage. Television broadcasts of games regularly feature live odds from sponsored sportsbooks, betting apps are highly commercialized, and teams are partnering with betting operators.
Earlier this year, Fanatics struck a deal with the Washington Commanders to build the NFL’s first in-stadium sportsbook for game-attending fans. That’s despite growing concerns over regulations for athletes, whether it be Iowa and Iowa State’s investigations into gambling bylaw breaches or the NFL suspending a group of players for placing bets.