US Gamblers Spent $13bn on Legal Sports Betting in 2019, Near Doubling 2018 Figures

  • AGA reported 59% of sports wagers in 2019 took place outside Nevada, 70% made online
  • Nevada produced highest bet spend at $5.3bn, followed by New Jersey and Pennsylvania
  • Several US states including D.C., Kansas, Missouri considering sports betting legislation in 2020  
man wins mobile sports bet
According to the AGA, gamblers across the US placed legal sports wagers amounting to $13 billion, with seven of every ten bets made online. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Legal sports wagers across 14 states

Gamblers in the United States spent approximately $13bn on legal sports wagers in 2019, almost doubling the amount spent in 2018.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) provided a detailed look at last year’s sports betting industry across the 14 states where the activity is legal. The data was announced on the AGA’s Twitter account:

The figures for Nevada and beyond

The AGA reported that 59% of the sports wagers placed in 2019 were made outside the state of Nevada. Seven of every ten such bets were completed online.

Before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was repealed in May 2018, Nevada was the only place in the US where players could legally make sports bets.

While Nevada came up short as the location for overall sports wagers, it did see players spend the most money. Total wagers placed in the state amounted to $5.3bn, setting a new annual record. Nevada finished just ahead of New Jersey, which recorded $4.6bn in bets, followed by Pennsylvania at $1.5bn.

seven of every ten such bets were completed online

The association also gave details on Oregon and Mississippi, each of which offers sports betting via tribal casinos. The states do not report their handle, but the AGA said Mississippi saw $369m in bets while Oregon registered $45m.

Looking ahead at US gambling expansion

The AGA expects several other states will launch legalized sports betting this year along with the Washington, D.C. area. With more states offering such services, the nationwide betting handle is set to increase.

More than 15 sports betting bills are currently active as additional states look to enter the industry. According to the AGA, as much as $118m was collected in state and local tax revenues from sports betting in the US throughout 2019.

as much as $118m was collected in state and local tax revenues from sports betting

According to VSO News, a number of states are currently reviewing sports betting legislation. As January came to an end, lawmakers in D.C. held a second hearing to discuss the potential for the industry, covering bills SB 6277 and SB 3694. Tribal casinos, card rooms, and racetracks in the region all want to be part of the action.

A Senate committee session took place in Kansas in January, with gambling operators coming on board with the fair tax system proposed in the language of the measure. If Senate Bill 283 passes into law, it will legalize mobile and retail sports betting in the state.

Last month also saw Missouri lawmakers move House Bill 2088 to the House floor for debate on retail and online sports betting legalization. In the state, the issue will most likely have to be considered via a public vote before the legislation will be enacted.