Skip to content
Home » Best to Worst Mobile Sports Betting Markets Ranked by Revenue, Handle & More

Best to Worst Mobile Sports Betting Markets Ranked by Revenue, Handle & More

With the recent launch of the Maryland online sports betting market, legal sports betting is up and running in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Four other states have legalized online sports betting, Nebraska, Maine, Massachusetts, and Ohio, with launches yet to come.

But every legal sports betting market in the U.S. is unique. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary, and here we look at the best and worst-performing U.S. sports betting markets.

Risk Free Bet up to $1,000
Promo Code: GAMBLINGCOM

Establishing a Baseline

The first and most important metric is performance. The fairest assessment of a market’s performance is to look at its sports betting handle and sports betting revenue tallies on a per-population basis.

The charts below contain a three-month tally (July-September) of retail and mobile sports betting handle (the total amount of wagers placed) and betting revenue in each state. With a couple of small caveats.

We don’t possess enough data to include the newly launched mobile betting markets in Kansas and Maryland, which leaves us with 21 markets to analyze.


Going Beyond the Baseline

In addition to sports betting revenue and handle, our rankings consider the following:

  • Market Competitiveness – An open sports betting market is a competitive market, and a competitive sports betting market is a consumer-friendly market.
  • Operator Burdens – High tax rates and licensing fees cut into marketing budgets, reduce promotion and bonus spending, and can lead to less-friendly lines. All of those factors reduce net sports betting proceeds and tax revenue.
  • Registration and Betting Restrictions – Policies like in-person registration for mobile wagering or prohibitions on college betting reduce betting opportunities and increase the difficulty of migrating customers from the illegal to the legal market.

The Top 5 Mobile Sports Betting Markets

Nevada Sits Alone at the Top

Nevada can leverage tourism and its undisputed spot as the gambling capital of the U.S. to punch way above its population weight when it comes to both sports betting revenue and overall betting handle. Nevada’s advantages in the U.S. sports betting space include a hyper-competitive market and extremely low operator burdens. The state was also the only legal sports betting jurisdiction before the Supreme Court struck down PASPA.

A Nevada sports betting license includes a casino license, and the state has a very low 6.75% tax rate. The only negative is mobile sports bettors must register in person at a casino, which helps retail sports betting revenue on the Las Vegas Strip but creates an unnecessary friction point that likely reduces the state’s overall mobile sports betting revenue. But not even its restrictive in-person registration policy has slowed down the state.

Pros

  • More than 50 online sportsbooks spread across 12 unique sports betting apps
  • Low tax rate (6.75%) and no additional sports betting licensing fee
  • A casino gambling destination with a storied history

Cons

  • DraftKings and FanDuel do not have a presence
  • In-person registration is required for mobile sports betting apps

New Jersey Is the Clear Runner Up

New Jersey sports betting is the clear runner-up to Nevada. Since the onset of post-PASPA legal betting in the U.S., the Garden State has been propped up as a model for mobile betting that other states can follow, as it’s an open market with low operator burdens and few betting restrictions. Based on its sports betting revenue numbers, there is good reason to imitate New Jersey.

Pros

  • Nearly two dozen mobile sports betting apps to choose from
  • Low tax rate (8.5% retail and 13% online) and nominal licensing fees of $100,000

Cons

  • In-state college sports betting is prohibited

Colorado Rounds Out the Top 3

Colorado edged out several other states to land the legal sports betting bronze medal, finishing behind Nevada and New Jersey in both betting handle and betting revenue per population. However, as the charts show, there is a big drop-off from the second to the third spot, with Colorado well behind Nevada and New Jersey in sports betting revenue and handle.

Pros

  • More than two dozen mobile sportsbooks
  • Low license fee ($125,000 for a two-year license) and tax rate (10%, less than 5% with promotional deductions)

Cons

  • College prop betting is prohibited

Arizona Falls Just Short of the Podium

Arizona was an easy pick for the fourth spot, as the state ranks fourth in handle and revenue. The state is an open, competitive legal sports wagering market with minimal operator burdens and few betting restrictions.

Pros

  • 17 mobile sports betting operators
  • A $750,000 licensing fee (and $150,000 annually) and a low sports betting tax rate (8% retail and 10% online)

Cons

  • College prop betting is prohibited

Iowa Wins a Tight Race for the Final Spot

The battle for the fifth spot on this list is quite close, with four states in contention: New York, Iowa, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. These states are in a near-dead heat when handle and sports betting revenue are the only metrics. Because the race is tight, the final spot came down to some intangible qualities in each legal sports betting market.

The number five spot goes to an unlikely candidate, Iowa. Not known for its gambling offerings or sports culture, it would be hard to find a state that has done more with less than the Hawkeye State. A big reason for its success is it’s difficult to find a flaw in Iowa’s sports betting industry, evidenced by the state’s rankings in handle and revenue per population, seventh and fourth, respectively.

Pros

  • 18 mobile sportsbook operators
  • Low tax rate (6.75%) and licensing fee ($45,000)

Cons

  • Player props restricted for in-state colleges

The Bubble States

Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York are the bubble states. All three markets have shortcomings, but Pennsylvania and New York are the poster child for how not to structure your sports betting industry.

Illinois’s $5 million licensing fee and 15% tax rate are pedestrian compared to Pennsylvania ($10 million and 36%) and New York ($25 million and 51%). Although Illinois has just seven mobile sports betting app options and has the strange requirement that bettors wager in-person on Illinois college teams.

New York missed a spot in the Top 5, not because of its numbers but because of the structure of the market. New York would be a Top 3 market if it were structured like New Jersey. But that’s not the case. To maximize state tax revenue, the Empire State has an absurdly high 51% tax rate, a $25 million licensing fee, and has self-limited the number of mobile sportsbook operators.

Pennsylvania also landed outside the Top 5 because of its policies and desire to boost state tax revenue. A 36% tax rate, a $10 million licensing fee, and strange second-skin restrictions keep the PA sports betting market from reaching its full potential in terms of sportsbook revenue, although the state has met its goal of generating sports betting tax revenue.

The Bottom 5 Mobile Sports Betting Markets

Parsing the best legal U.S. sports betting markets was a challenge. Those challenges are nonexistent in the bottom five sports betting markets.

Washington, D.C. Is the Best of the Worst

Washington, D.C.’s sports betting industry has been much maligned, for good reason. Sports betting activity in D.C. has fallen well short of expectations. Still, it’s not the worst-performing market in the country. However, it could fall closer to the bottom now that Maryland mobile sportsbooks are up and running, giving D.C. residents willing to take a short drive out of the city other betting options.

West Virginia, a Victim of its Economy

West Virginia’s woes have nothing to do with the structure of the state’s sports betting. In fact, it has a well-structured structured sports betting law. The economics of the state – West Virginia ranks 49th in median household income – place it near the bottom in terms of handle and revenue per population. D.C. mobile sports betting has been so poor that its retail sportsbooks outperform the state’s mobile wagering platform.

Wyoming Is a Small Market with Small Results

Wyoming was never expected to be a great sports betting market, considering it’s the least populated state – even D.C. has a larger population. Still, with a well-structured sports betting law and decent economic factors, its sports betting revenue performance leaves much to be desired.

Oregon Proves that Structure Matters

There is only one locale performing worse than Oregon and its lottery-run sports betting monopoly. What is amazing is that before its switch from its original Scoreboard app (and its 1.6 rating in the App Store) to DraftKings, Oregon’s sports betting industry was worse. Also working against Oregon is a blanket ban on college betting, the only state with this policy. To put Oregon’s sports betting revenue struggles in perspective, understand that the state one spot above it, Wyoming, outperforms it by a factor of 2.5 when it comes to per population handle and revenue.

Arkansas Rule Produces Sobering Results

Arkansas online sports betting was handcuffed by a unique rule that requires third-party platforms that partner with the state’s casinos to receive no more than 49% of revenue. These major third-party platforms are accustomed to receiving 85% or more of the revenue split for their role in sports betting operations. 

Even worse, the state’s 51% mobile betting provision has scared away would-be operators, and Arkansas sports bettors are left with online betting, but not mobile sports betting apps. 

The result of these factors is the worst-performing online betting market in the country, which is missing major U.S. sportsbooks like FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM.

Summary of Legal Sports Betting Markets

The top sports betting markets have several things in common:

  • Open, competitive markets with many operators
  • Modest licensing fees and tax rates
  • Very few betting restrictions (Nevada’s in-person registration requirement being the exception)

Conversely, the worst-performing markets have one thing in common; they are either monopolies or have very few betting operators:

  • Arkansas: 2
  • Oregon: 1
  • Wyoming: 4, with several on the way
  • West Virginia: 8
  • Washington D.C.: 1

As the chart below shows, competitive markets outperform uncompetitive markets.

FAQ

What are the current best sports betting markets in the US?Up Arrow

Nevada, New Jersey, Colorado, Arizona, and Iowa are the top-performing sports betting markets based on mobile betting revenue and handle by population, along with several other factors.

What are the worst betting markets in the US?Up Arrow

Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wyoming, Oregon, and Arkansas are the worst U.S. sports betting markets. All five markets struggle to generate gross gaming revenue through their online sports gambling operations.

Which state has the highest sports betting revenue?Up Arrow

Nevada generates the most sports betting revenue on a per population basis. New York produces the most gross revenue because of its large population.

How much is the New Jersey sports betting revenue?Up Arrow

New Jersey’s legalized sports betting industry is the second-best performing in the country. Its sports betting revenues exceed $25 per resident.

What is NY’s Sports Betting Tax Rate?Up Arrow

New York’s online betting tax rate is 51%. That number is good for state taxes, but it’s a significant burden for sportsbook operators.

What is handle in betting?Up Arrow

Handle is a term used for the total amount wagered by sports bettors. Sports betting revenue is calculated by subtracting the amount won by bettors from the betting handle.

What is the difference between percent handle vs. percent bets?Up Arrow

Bet percentage is the percentage of bets the public is betting on a specific side. Meaning that if the Cowboys are playing the Steelers and 65% of the bets would be on Dallas and 35% on the Steelers. Handle percentage is weighted on how much money that each bet was placed. So 10 $5 bets on the Cowboys would be valued the same as one $50 bet on the Steelers.

Source: Read Full Article