September was an eventful month in the world of sports betting for several reasons, but somewhat lost in the shuffle was the launch of sports betting in two small but powerful neighboring states in Wyoming and South Dakota. We now have reports on the betting handle and revenue these states experienced last month, and early returns are very positive. With sports bettors letting it fly in the North Central region of the US, let’s look at September’s numbers in Wyoming and South Dakota.
When Did These Markets Launch?
Wyoming launched its all-online sports betting market on September 1, with DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook the two first platforms in the state. Wyoming sports betting became legal in April 2021 when Governor Mark Gordon signed legislation into effect. South Dakota, meanwhile, has a retail-only sports betting market that launched on September 9 in the city of Deadwood after Governor Kristi Noem signed legislation into effect in March. South Dakota is currently restricted to in-person and on-premise mobile sports betting, but it is possible to transition to a total online market in the future.
What Was the Sports Betting Handle Like?
In the first month of sports betting in Wyoming, DraftKings and BetMGM took $6.2 million in betting handle, according to the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission. These sportsbooks reported $954,416 in gross gaming revenue on a 15.4% hold rate, but net sports betting revenue was just -$124,969 after accounting for promotional offerings. The first month of a state’s legal market and the beginning of football season are both critical times for boosting customer acquisition and retention, so it was not shocking to see Wyoming sports betting platforms dole out significant amounts of promotional money.
In South Dakota, Deadwood casinos collected $443,365 in total sports betting handle during September. Operators saw $71,320 in gross gaming revenue, suitable for a 16.1% win rate, and with less overhead due to far fewer promotional offerings, much of this revenue was pocketed by the casinos. South Dakota taxes gaming revenue at a 9% rate, giving it $6,419 for September’s sports wagering. With September the first month of sports betting numbers for Wyoming and South Dakota, the overall handle and, therefore, revenue is only expected to grow in the future.
What Were the Most Popular Sports to Bet On?
Of the $6.2 million in sports betting handle in Wyoming, $3.6 million (58%) was bet on football. The timing of a September launch coincided perfectly with the start of the NFL and college football seasons. Baseball was the second-most popular sport with $1 million in handle, while parlays attracted $1.1 million in bets. In South Dakota, bets on the NFL and college football represented $408,364 in handle, 92.1% of the total market. Sports bettors will be grateful they invested primarily in football as Deadwood casinos ran the table on NHL bets, winning all $1,002 worth. They also swept in NASCAR ($331), PGA Tour ($292), FIFA ($189), NBA ($101), and WNBA ($11).
What Are the Next Steps?
David Carpenter, sports wagering project manager at the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission, expressed his excitement for October with the “potential for doubling of wagers and a fraction of the free bet activity.” The Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission is scheduled to meet again on November 5 to discuss the approval of FanDuel Sportsbook, among other topics. Penn National Gaming’s Barstool Sportsbook’s potential November launch will potentially be delayed but should happen before the end of the year. With other operators also interested in being a part of the Wyoming market, we expect it to continue to grow significantly in the coming months.
South Dakota is a very conservative state, so it is unclear if online sports betting will be on the table anytime soon. However, you can place mobile bets while on the premises of tribal reservations. The major contributing factor to a potential expansion of mobile sports betting would be the disadvantage to the South Dakota market in terms of potential revenue compared to neighboring states with legal online markets in Iowa, Montana, and now Wyoming. South Dakota residents will likely be willing to drive across the border to these neighboring states to place sports bets. Still, the first month of retail sports betting in South Dakota should be considered an enormous success.