July Cools Off the Normally Hot US Sports Betting Industry
You can call it the calm before the storm, but the US sports betting industry was slower than expected during the month of July.
The two biggest measures of this industry on a monthly basis are the total betting handle and total betting revenue. The sports betting handle is a measure of total betting volume in dollars. A sportsbook revenue is the money made on that handle.
Revenue figures note the difference between the money paid out on winning sports wagers and the money collected on losing wagers plus the standard 10% commission or juice. This is also referred to as a sportsbook’s monthly hold.
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Turning to the gaming numbers for a few of the biggest sports betting states in the US, July was one of the toughest summer months for the books.
New Jersey has quickly been able to establish itself as the biggest sports betting state in the country in terms of its monthly betting handle. The state’s Division of Gaming just released the betting numbers for July and they reflected a double-digit percentage loss from one month to the next.
The New Jersey sports betting handle in June was $766.9 million. That number dropped 24.5% in July to $578.7 million. This was the lowest monthly betting handle in New Jersey this year. The previous low was $743 million in February.
New Jersey sportsbooks posted a healthy 9.5% hold in July. However, total revenue figures were $55 million. This reflects a 22.9% drop from the books’ total revenue of $71.3 million in June.
None of these results come as a huge surprise given how sports betting does slow down during the summer months.
David Danzis is a lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. He made the following comment in relation to July’s numbers:
“Casual sports bettors engage with sportsbooks less frequently in the heart of the summer. But the good news for sportsbooks is that sports betting will soon start to gain momentum as casual bettors return home from summer vacations and begin to turn their focus to football.”
Pennsylvania is another big sports betting market in terms of its monthly betting handle. After slowing down in May and June, this past month also posted a double-digit decline in the betting handle on a month-to-month basis.
The Keystone State’s total betting volume in July topped out at $304.4 million. This was down 27.6% as compared to June’s handle of $420.2. This was also the state’s lowest sports betting handle of the year.
Revenue also took a beating in July. The in-state books took in $42.5 million in revenue during the month of June. That figure sunk to just $27.5 million in July, which adds up to a whopping 35.3% decline month-to-month.
As a Pennsylvania analyst for PlayUSA.com, Dustin Gouker adds the following thoughts:
“Even with the NBA Finals and the Olympics to help boost the schedule this year, bettors in Pennsylvania and beyond just don’t engage sportsbooks as much in July. This year in particular saw a surge in nationwide travel, which means people were occupied with family vacations and other summer activities. That said, sportsbooks cannot wait for football season to ramp up.”
Once final large-market state with weaker-than-expected July betting numbers was Michigan. The total betting volume sunk to $206.3 million. This is a 20.5% decline in handle from June’s $259.4 million wagered.
The lowest handle of the year in Michigan was $150.8 million in January. However, this state first went live with mobile sports betting on January 22, so this is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
The drop in Michigan’s sportsbook revenue from June to July reflects the same trend. Total revenue was down 21.6% in July to $20.8 million. June’s total revenue was $24.9 million. The only good news was July’s average hold of 10.1% for Michigan sportsbooks.
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