U.S. Sports Betting Enjoys September Surge

October 13, 2021
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September was a bumper month for the U.S. sports-betting market, particularly for bettors taking up generous bonuses at the start of the National Football League (NFL) season, if new regulator statistics in Indiana and Iowa are indicative of market-wide trends.

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September was a bumper month for the U.S. sports-betting market, particularly for bettors taking up generous bonuses at the start of the National Football League (NFL) season, if new regulator statistics in Indiana and Iowa are indicative of market-wide trends.

Indiana saw record sports wagering handle of $355.4m in September, up 71 percent from the same month in 2020, according to data published by the Indiana Gaming Commission on Tuesday.

IN market shares

Total adjusted gross revenue was $33.3m, almost three times the $11.2m reported for the first month of last year's NFL season.

In increasingly competitive Iowa, meanwhile, total monthly handle hit $210.4m in September versus $72.4m in 2020, when bettors were still required to create accounts in person at a casino before remote registration kicked in on January 1 this year.

Still, monthly data released on Friday by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission also points to the impact of bonusing and promotions as online sportsbook operators seek to acquire as many new players as possible at the start of the football season.

State-wide, Iowa operators reported just $1.5m in total net online sports wagering revenue after deducting promotional bets in accordance with recent state legislation. Net revenue from retail sportsbooks, where promotions are much more limited, was $4.2m.

For the U.S. as a whole, the slew of generous welcome bonuses offered in the early weeks of the new football season was generally as expected, according to senior executives with Entain, co-owner of BetMGM, the no. 3 operator by revenue in Indiana in September and no. 2 in Iowa.

Promotional offers have already started to level off in October, with operators shifting focus to retention bonuses as the season progresses, CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen and deputy CEO Rob Wood told analysts on Tuesday.

"If we look at the first weeks of NFL, there were some pretty hefty bonuses and promotions in the market … but we are seeing it coming down a bit and are confident that the promotional environment will come down over time,” Nygaard-Andersen said.

In Iowa, BetMGM trailed only FanDuel in terms of online net revenue after promotional deductions, whereas the two Iowa market leaders by handle in Caesars and DraftKings appeared to bonus more aggressively than their rivals.

FanDuel also maintained its lead in the Indiana market by revenue, but DraftKings took in more than 40 percent of total online betting volume.

BetMGM had a 16.7 percent share of the Indiana market in September measured by revenue, ahead of Penn National's Barstool on 5.7 percent, PointsBet (4.1 percent) and Caesars (2.6 percent).

IA market shares

The statistics from Indiana and Iowa are the first in a series of state revenue reports set to be eyed closely by industry analysts over the coming days.

September data for sports wagering and internet gaming in New Jersey will be released on Monday, with similar reports from the two other major U.S. online gambling markets in Pennsylvania and Michigan also due early next week.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board reported that retail sports wagering revenue at Detroit's three casinos was $3.6m in September on $32.5m in handle, versus $4.4m from $33.5m last year when online sports betting had yet to launch.

According to a report released last week by geolocation provider GeoComply, Michigan saw the third highest number of online sports-betting transactions during the first four weeks of the NFL season, behind New Jersey and Pennsylvania and ahead of market newcomer Arizona in fourth and Illinois in fifth.

Indiana was the seventh largest U.S. market by sports-betting transaction volume over the four-week period, with Iowa tenth.

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