Return of Major Leagues Pushes New Jersey, Pennsylvania to Record Sports Betting Handles in August

Posted on: September 17, 2020, 08:06h. 

Last updated on: September 17, 2020, 09:57h.

With a plethora of daily sports betting options, New Jersey has set an all-time handle record to any state in August. Neighboring Pennsylvania also posted an all-time high mark within the Keystone State.

August sports betting
LeBron James (right) and the Lakers faced off against the Sacrament Kings in August. The return of the NBA, the conclude the regular season, and start the playoffs, helped New Jersey post record sports betting handle for any state in any given month. (Image: Kevin C. Cox/AP)

The Garden State’s sportsbooks and mobile sports betting applications reported in a release Monday a total handle of $668 million. That shattered the previous record for any month, which was Nevada’s handle of $613.6 million last November, and obliterated the previous New Jersey high water mark of $562.6 million that same month.

Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks amassed a handle of $365 million for the month, besting the all-time high of $348.4 million that the state hit in January.

That means those two neighboring states generated an astonishing $1.033 billion for the month.

Sports Betting Handles Surge in August

August typically serves as a lackluster month for sports betting. In a normal year, only baseball is played daily, and preseason football generates some interest. There are no golf or tennis majors, either.

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was anything but a typical year, as both the NBA and NHL resumed play after being on hiatus for more than four months. No preseason NFL took place, but golf featured a major, the PGA Championship, and two events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

According to Kevin Hennessy, director of publicity for FanDuel, it wasn’t just one sport that attracted bettors.

NBA was our top performer for the month once the Bubble started on July 30,” Hennessy told “The first five days of NHL were similar to five days in February, when NHL betting is at its peak.  Golf was up when other sports were not active, and continued solid performance in August, being the top single event almost every Sunday. MLB didn’t miss a beat, either.”

FanDuel is the largest sportsbook in Pennsylvania. Last month, $149.2 million of the state’s bets were placed through the Flutter-owned operation, with the overwhelming majority of bets – $144.6 million – wagered online. In Indiana, where FanDuel runs second to DraftKings, the apps took slightly more than $50 million in bets for the month. That is its second-highest monthly total in the Hoosier State.

And FanDuel wasn’t the only book seeing growth. PointsBet and BetMGM, both of which launched their mobile sports betting apps in Indiana just days before the COVID-19 shutdown, posted their best months in the state. BetMGM did nearly $9.4 million, while PointsBet finished with a $4.8 million handle.

Patrick Eichner, director of communications for PointsBet, told he attributed the string month to “pent-up demand for headline US sports.”

Indiana Wagering Rebounds

Speaking of Indiana, the state’s mobile and retail sportsbooks reported a handle of $169 million for the month of August. That was comparable to the January total of $170.8 million in the basketball-crazed state.

About 85 percent of Indiana’s August handle was wagered online.

Indiana reported its third-highest handle since launching sports betting a year ago, and that was despite neighboring Illinois rolling out mobile apps with BetRivers and DraftKings. Illinois has yet to announce its August totals, but the state saw a handle of $52.5 million the month prior.

Another Midwestern sports betting state also saw strong numbers for August. Iowa’s sportsbooks took in $50.3 million in wagers last month, the fifth time since its launch in August 2019 that saw the handle exceed $50 million.