Pandemic Fuels Mobile Sports Betting

In this article, we answer:

  • How has the pandemic impacted mobile betting in the US?
  • Which states have experience the most growth?

It comes as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven mobile sports betting to new heights. Placing bets online has been a growing trend in recent years — while some books are only optimized for desktop, or require users to download apps, many books have adapted and now offer excellent betting options and a seamless user experience, all accessible straight from your mobile phone.

This is just another reason why it comes as no surprise that mobile sports betting has boomed during the pandemic.

We take a look at how the pandemic has driven the rise of mobile sports betting, states where mobile betting has taken off, and more news for 2021.

Vegas Sportsbooks by the Numbers

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual books found in casinos all over the city are closed, or have reduced capacity, moving all the action online — and straight to bettors’ mobile phones. The state of Nevada saw $3.7 billon in bets in 2020. The beginning of the pandemic saw online revenue increase more than 90% from 2019, the previous year.

Interestingly enough, the Las Vegas Sands corporation is reportedly looking into implementing a mobile or online sports betting option, which stands in stark opposition to founder Sheldon Adelson’s stance on online betting.

New Jersey Sportsbooks by the Numbers

So, who’s betting the most on mobile? Overall, New Jersey has spent the most on mobile wagering, breaking records month-over-month — in October, the state had a record-breaking months of bets totaling $659 million, and in December, almost became the first state to accept $1 billion in sports bets (they collected $996.3 million).

However, they still broke a record for wagers placed in the state, with 2020 bringing in over $6 billion in bets.

In total, the Garden State received:

  • Total Bets: $6.02 billion
  • Online Bets: $5.5 million
  • Operator Revenue: $398.5 million
  • State & Local Taxes: $65.1 million

Industry analyst at PlyNJ.com Dustin Gouker says, “The pandemic has had a diametrically opposite effect on New Jersey’s online and retail markets for both sports betting and casino games. But the growth of online betting was crucial in making up for at least some of the losses in revenue at Atlantic City casinos and certainly continue to steady the entire gaming industry.”

pile of n95 blue masks

How has the pandemic fueled mobile bets?

The pandemic has kept people in most states in lockdown, and even if restrictions are looser in those states, many people are hesitant to leave their house amidst a global pandemic—for those people, mobile phones have been a savior.

Most sports leagues have forgone stadium fans, and with fans moved indoors, it makes sense that bets have moved indoors & online, too. Whereas betting rooms typically don’t entice millennials, the internet is familiar domain for them (no pun intended), but for everyone else, online bets are the only option. Being able to wager on a mobile device allows the user to bet anywhere, anytime – and despite many people being shuttered indoors, this convenience is undoubtably welcome.

For younger age demographics who weren’t betting pre-pandemic, it’s likely that the lack of activity & widespread closures occurring have made betting and wagering on sports (once they returned) a ‘safe bet’ pandemic-wise.

Overall, people have placed more bets through mobile phones, with the market growing by $1.6 billion in 2020, and legal books online receiving over $17 billion in bets.

Over on Wall Street, analysts forecast huge revenue growth in the next 5-10 years, while analysts at Morgan Stanley forecast a $15 billion betting market.

States rush to legalize mobile betting

In 2020, 18 states legalized sports betting, while Washington, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia have passed bills to legalize betting, but betting hasn’t been rolled out yet. Most recently, Michigan

Which states haven’t legalized sports betting yet? Sports betting has no legislation in North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Idaho; while legislation didn’t pass in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Wyoming. Michigan is the most recent state in 2021 to legalize online gaming & wagering.

Pre-Coronavirus, the online gaming market was continuously growing — it will be interesting to see if the industry sees the same level of growth when vaccines are rolled out in their respective states.

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