States With The Highest Sports Betting Revenue In The US

From the big game to March Madness, sports betting has surged across the country in recent years. According to data from the American Gaming Association's Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, Americans wagered a record $119.84 billion on sports betting in 2023 (which was a 27.5% increase over 2022 betting totals). Outside of big events like the Super Bowl (where FanDuel alone took in a record-breaking 14 million bets totaling $307 million), sports betting is also on the rise for other sports, including the NBA, MLB, college football, and even golf.

The massive growth in sports betting is largely due to the Supreme Court's 2018 decision to strike down the long-held Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. PASPA had, since 1992, banned sports betting across the United States with the notable exception of Nevada. The thought was that by blocking legalized betting, sports leagues could ensure the integrity of (as well as public faith in) the outcome of games.

The 2018 decision allowed each state to decide whether to adopt legal gambling and, as of January 2024, 38 states have legalized sports betting (with 29 of them legalizing online sports betting). Plus, an additional six states (Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Alabama) are due to consider legalized sports betting in 2024 (people are even taking bets on each state's odds). This has not only led to incredible growth for the sports betting industry but also record-breaking sports-betting events (like betting for the 2024 Super Bowl, which was projected to bring in $1.3 billion in bets).

Which states bet the most on sports?

California and Texas, the two most populous states in the country, don't currently have legalized sports betting, while the third most populous, Florida, was only finally able to get its sports betting system clear of legal trouble in late 2023. With those states out of the picture for betting totals, New York took the top spot for the state with the highest sports betting revenue, coming in at just under $1.7 billion in 2023, according to AGA data. The next state was New Jersey, with $1.01 billion in sports betting revenue, thanks in large part to having the largest casino market (Atlantic City) in the country outside of Las Vegas. Coming in third, but barely, was Illinois, with $1 billion in revenue. New Jersey and Illinois actually switched spots in 2023, with New Jersey reaching second place after a 31.9% growth in revenue.

It's also important to realize that some states haven't yet legalized sports betting, while some have only just started the process of implementing the industry within their state. This means certain states might not have particularly high revenues to report yet while they work on expanding the availability within their state but could show tremendous growth. For instance, three of the five states that grew their gambling revenues the most in 2023 — Nebraska, Massachusetts, and Ohio — only just started taking sports bets in the same year. However, Nebraska was a true standout, growing its gambling revenue an astonishing 534.7% in its first year of taking bets.

What are people betting on?

Sports betting experienced 44.5% growth in 2023, reaching $10.92 billion in total revenue. Within this, far and away the largest betting market within that revenue centers on the NFL. While the Super Bowl is a natural betting event, the number of betters throughout the entire NFL season continues to grow. According to GeoComply, a company that tracks and verifies the location of internet gamblers, the 2023-24 NFL season saw a growth of 13.7 million new accounts, a 28% increase over the season before. Meanwhile, a December 2022 report from Variety Intelligence Platform found that 81% of bettors had placed an NFL wager, while the next closest sport was the NBA, with 54% of bettors reporting having placed a bet.

It's also important to note how people are betting. The expansion of sports betting in the United States has led to growth in online betting (not to mention the expansion and development of sports betting apps). In 2023, online betting accounted for 24.7% of the total sports betting revenue for the entire year, earning $16.43 billion. However, at the same time, in-person gambling (including things like slot machines and table games) also experienced significant growth, generating an estimated $50.02 billion in revenue. This makes in-person betting by far the most significant earning vertical within the gambling industry. In-person gambling (including retail sports betting) accounted for 75.3% of the total gambling revenue in 2023.