United States Sees More Than $4B in Legal Sports Betting in January 2021

Now that all of the biggest sports betting markets have reported their January sports betting numbers, the United States once again set industry records. The total sports betting handle in the United States went over $4 billion for the first time, and it did so easily.

There was more than $4.375 billion in total sports betting handle in January, and this is the fourth straight month of an increase. The new goal is now $5 billion, which should be attainable in early 2021.

The National Football League carried the January figures throughout the U.S., but now the primary focus is on basketball, with March Madness just around the corner. Michigan and Virginia launched online sports betting near the end of January, pushing the numbers higher.

Illinois Posts Impressive Numbers in January

University of IllinoisIllinois is typically one of the last states to report monthly sports betting numbers, and that report came in on Wednesday night. The total sports betting handle in Illinois came in at $581.5 million, which shattered the state’s previous record.

January marked the first time that Illinois managed to go over $500 million, as the previous record of $491.7 million was set during December. Illinois has now seen an increase in monthly sports betting handle for seven straight months, and nearly all of the betting is done online.

Illinois launched sports betting on March 9, 2020, and the market got off to a slow start due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barstool Sportsbook will launch in Illinois on Thursday, which should provide another boost to an already impressive market.

Top Three Markets Remain Unchanged

The three biggest sports betting markets remain New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and it has been that way since 2020. All three of these states continue to set new records as well, but Illinois is looking to break into the top-three soon.

Pennsylvania posted a January sports betting handle total of $615.3 million in January, and that is another state the continues to grow each month. Nevada bounced back in January, and New Jersey is getting close to going over the $1 billion mark for sports betting handle.

March Madness Set to Begin

ncaa logo100The February sports betting totals will start to be revealed this month, and the Super Bowl will help most markets post impressive figures. February is a shorter month, and some states will likely see a decrease from January.

Things will start to turn around once again in March as the 2021 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments will take center stage. College basketball’s tournaments combine for the second biggest sporting event in the U.S. outside of the Super Bowl. They will lead to massive handle and revenue numbers throughout the U.S.

Most states are also starting to loosen COVID-19 restrictions, and in-person sports betting should begin to increase. Online betting will continue to be the most popular way to make a bet, but adding retail will cause figures to grow.

Alex Payton is a sports betting writer that has a wide range of experience in the industry. He covers plenty of topics and never misses the chance to take the Louisville Cardinals.

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