New Hampshire Sports Betting Beats Expectations, Takes $20.8 Million Handle in First Month

Posted on: February 4, 2020, 04:17h. 

Last updated on: February 4, 2020, 05:10h.

New Hampshire’s sports betting market booked a net profit of $1.2 million on a $20.8 million betting handle in the first month of its existence.

New Hampshire sports betting
Gov. Chris Sununu has been a long-time supporter of sports betting in New Hampshire, and branded the first month a “big win” for schools. (Image: Granite Grok)

According to the New Hampshire Lottery, the figures have exceeded expectations, with over 27,000 unique users since the market launch.

This casino-less state has offered mobile wagering in partnership with DraftKings since December 30, 2019, when it became the second state in New England, after Rhode Island, to offer sports betting services.

Some 11 percent of all bets placed since launch were on the Super Bowl, the Lottery said.

Of course, not every month contains a Super Bowl – which is why it was crucial to get the market up and running in time for the biggest event on the US sporting calendar.

Not all states that legalized sports betting last year achieved this. Some, like Montana and Tennessee, had targeted at least some part of the NFL season, but failed to capitalize on the betting frenzy.

In Tennessee, The Chattanooga Times Free Press bemoaned Monday that “Tennessee’s sports betting goal missed all of football,” and wondered whether someone should be fired.

Pitfalls of Patriotic Betting

New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, was in better spirits, tweeting it was a “big WIN for NH education!” referencing that the revenues will be funneled directly to the state’s education system.

“The Patriots may not be playing in this year’s Super Bowl, but that is not stopping New Hampshire from winning big,” said Sununu later in an official statement. “There is no doubt that New Hampshire is already serving as New England’s go-to destination for sports betting, and we are just getting started.”

But it’s probably just as well the Patriots weren’t playing.

Last year, Rhode Island scrambled to get its sports betting market up in time for the NFL season, only to take a catastrophic loss $2.4 million loss on Super Bowl.

It highlighted the problem of regional bias in the newly regulated state markets. Because the overwhelming majority in Rhode Island bet the Patriots, sports books were massively exposed to the risk of a Patriots win.

Usually, bookmakers overcome this problem by hedging – laying off bets in markets with different regional biases. But the federal Wire Act prohibits interstate sports betting transactions.

Rhode Island fared a little better this year, with a $805,000 win on a $5.5 million Super Bowl betting handle.

Mass. Threat

New Hampshire has gotten off to a better start than Rhode Island did. Initial results are promising for an essentially non-gaming state with a relatively small population and a product that’s completely new to most Granite Staters.

But New Hampshire is also benefiting from Massachusetts and Connecticut dragging their heels on legalizing sports betting — Massachusetts especially.

The New Hampshire Lottery has said that a “significant number” of those 27,000 sign-ups came from Massachusetts-based gamblers, who are prepared to hop over the state line. But it will take a hit when New England’s two most populous states eventually follow suit, as they are expected to do.