Coronavirus Impact Seen In Huge Monthly Handle Drop For US Sports Betting

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US sports betting

The lack of major sports for more than half of March led US sports betting handle to fall 65% from February.

Sports betting revenue also suffered, falling 58% in March from February to $37.8 million.

March’s total handle of $604.8 million is also down 45% from last year. Revenue fell 56% year over year.

When looking at just the seven states reporting results last year, same-store handle dropped 55% and revenue fell 67%.

Major US sports leagues began shutting down March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The biggest hit of the month came when the NCAA canceled its March Madness basketball tournament the next day.

US sports betting handle, by state

Delaware had the smallest drop in handle at 46.7%, while Nevada‘s fell the most at 71.1%. New Jersey‘s revenue fell the least at 22.5%, while Nevada’s drop was 96.2%.

The table does not include results from Arkansas, Illinois, Montana and New Mexico, which have not reported figures for March.

StateHandle% change from FebruaryRevenue% change from February
New Hampshire$8,768,769-58.9%$772,998-35.8%
New Jersey$181,908,529-63.2%$13,181,101-22.5%
New YorkN/AN/A$99,514N/A
Rhode Island$8,949,157-68.2%$841,767-63.8%
West Virginia**$14,705,299-62.9%$1,101,454N/A

*Results for the month ending March 29.

**Results for the month ending March 28.

March Madness huge for US industry

The US sports betting industry will forever wonder what March 2020 could have looked like with March Madness as states continued to ramp up their markets.

A quick look at Nevada’s figures last year shows just how big March Madness betting is in the United States. Basketball accounted for $495 million, or 83% of the state’s $596.8 million in handle last March, which set a new monthly record at the time.

This year, Nevada’s sportsbooks took just $104.7 million in basketball handle for March.

New Jersey sports betting results also show the significance of basketball betting in March. Completed event handle on basketball jumped nearly $206 million last March, up 72% from the $287.1 million in completed event handle for last January and February combined.

That increase was just $87.3 million this year.

States still moving forward with sports betting plans

The US got its 10th online betting state when Colorado sports betting launched Friday despite the major sports hiatus.

Illinois, Michigan and Montana all launched retail sports betting right before sports shut down in March. Michigan is considering fast-tracking its rules process, though.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wanted to move slowly to launch online gambling and betting sooner than the current timetable of early next year.

Tennessee is also moving forward with its process, though there’s no definitive start date yet.

Washington, DC, is the only jurisdiction so far to push back launch. Its lottery-operated app is powered by Intralot.