As New Sports Betting States Compete, A Look At The Revenue Numbers

Written By Bart Shirley on January 23, 2019 - Last Updated on December 6, 2023
An image of a 100 dollar note on a piece of paper containing sports betting odds.

Sports betting in the US is now available in eight states. For some, it has created an instant revenue boom, while others haven’t fared as well as they initially hoped.

Here’s a roundup at how revenue is turning out for five of the new members of the sports betting club.

New Jersey

New Jersey was the second state to begin accepting wagers on sports matches after the demise of PASPA. It has also been the most successful state in terms of both betting activity and revenue.

As it stands, New Jersey sports betting is now present at nine retail sportsbook locations. The state also features nine online sportsbooks, which accept almost three times as many wagers as their land-based counterparts.

With all that betting, the Garden State has accepted wagers in excess of $1.2 billion. Roughly half of that activity occurred in the last two months of 2018.

That amount of wagering yielded revenues for 2018 of just over $94 million. For an industry that didn’t exist until May, New Jersey’s performance and growth represent the gold standard for the rest of the states considering a move towards legalization.


Pennsylvania legalized sports betting as part of a gambling expansion in 2017. The Keystone State was one of many to authorize wagering on sporting events in anticipation of PASPA’s dismissal.

However, it took Pennsylvania until the midpoint of November 2018 to get any sportsbooks open. An onerous licensing fee and taxation structure caused its casino operators to hesitate for a few months.

Three sportsbooks opened for business during that month, and in December 2018, they accepted wagers worth just over $16 million. That handle translated into about $2 million in revenue.

By comparison, New Jersey sportsbooks had revenues of $4 million from $40 million in wagers during their first month of operation. However, there were five sportsbooks active in the Garden State to produce that wager, including a location 6 miles from New York City.

So, all in all, the launch of Pennsylvania sports betting has been a successful one. As more of the state’s casinos bring their sportsbooks to life, that number should grow in the coming months.

West Virginia

To many, West Virginia may seem like a strange entrant to the fraternity of states with sports betting. However, the Mountain State was one of New Jersey’s staunchest allies in its legal battle against the government.

As such, the state has always aligned itself ideologically with other gambling locations. In fact, West Virginia is the only state with a casino owner as its governor.

Sports betting debuted at the Hollywood Casino Charles Town in early September 2018. Since that time, the other four casinos in-state have each opened their own sportsbooks.

The state is also home to a single online sportsbook. BetLucky came online in the latter half of December 2018.

Handle in the state has grown steadily, more or less, since inception. Since the beginning of 2019, West Virginia sportsbooks have written tickets for wagers totaling slightly under $5 million each week.

From that activity, the state’s sportsbooks are keeping an average of $288,000 per week. This amount may seem paltry compared to the largesse in New Jersey. However, it is still a healthy infusion of capital for a state without any major population centers.


Mississippi‘s stance on gambling is something of an anomaly in the deep South. The Magnolia State is home to roughly 30 casinos, mostly centered around Biloxi and Tunica.

Of the 30, 23 properties now offer sports betting to their patrons. However, sports betting in Mississippi has not made quite the splash as in other states.

Like West Virginia, few major population centers are near enough to Mississippi to make a ton of wagers on sports. Mississippi also does not allow online sports betting, except onsite at each property, and this prohibition limits the growth of the industry.

As a result, these two dozen sportsbooks accepted only $5.4 million in wagers. From that $5.4 million, the sportsbooks held a mere $906,129.83.

However, one Mississippi resort is set to offer an app to its patrons quite soon. So, hopefully, things will pick up on mobile, even if it’s limited to the property itself.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island joined the sports betting party back in November 2018. The nation’s smallest state is home to two casinos, both of which now offer sports betting.

As befitting the small state, its two sports betting operations generated a small bit of activity. In fact, in November 2018 (the only information we have so far), the books pulled in $682,714 in wagers and a scant $72,997 in revenue.

These figures may be a signal of trouble for the Rhode Island government budget. Gov. Gina Raimondo allocated several millions of her budget to be paid by sports betting tax receipts.

Unfortunately, there may just be too much competition around.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is the managing editor of evergreen content for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

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