Americans legally wagered a record amount of money on sports in September, as the start of the NFL’s 2019 season and the addition of another state to the marketplace pushed betting totals to a fresh high.
The monthly handle, or total amount of money wagered, in the legal U.S. sports betting market reached nearly $1.4 billion, according to the American Gaming Association, a casino industry trade group. Of that total, 40 percent of wagers originated in Nevada, the largest state sports betting market, which reported the third-largest handle in its history.
A total of 13 states have implemented legal sports betting in some form to date. Indiana became the latest to launch a regulated marketplace in September. An additional six states – Illinois, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Tennessee – have either fully legalized sports betting and are working towards a launch or have passed bills that require final approval.
Sports betting was illegal in all but four states until May 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a longstanding federal ban. States are allowed to determine whether to legalize and implement sports betting markets on an individual basis.
Total handle in the U.S. legal market hit $7.8 billion through September. Americans wagered $6.6 billion through legal avenues in all of 2018.
As sports betting gains mainstream acceptance and political approval, top U.S. sports leagues have largely reversed their opposition to the pastime. Sports officials had long argued that legalized gambling would open their games to the risk of corruption.
The NBA reached sports betting deals with four separate operators ahead of its 2019-20 season, while MLB has agreements in place with at least three operators. The NFL has yet to name an official partner but is set to relocate its Raiders franchise to Las Vegas starting in the 2020 season.