Nevada has had fierce competition when it comes to being the top legal sports wagering state in the U.S., but it seems that eastern side of the country is beginning to make up the distance very quickly. Both New Jersey and newcomer Pennsylvania have set new records for total sports handle with the help of the NFL season starting in September.

For New Jersey, the state posted a total of $445.6 million in wagers placed during the month. Their previous high was a $385.3 million handle during January of this year, making a more than $60 million jump to set their new record. This is a massive leap from the $293.6 million handle the state reported for the month of August, meaning the new total is a direct result of football betting.

The growth over in Pennsylvania is significantly more impressive. Numbers for September tallied in at $194.5 million. In August, PA experienced $109 million in sports bets, which was their current high before September. The $85.5 million handle difference indicates a shocking 78.4% increase between the two months.

This gap is also a product of the NFL season, but more importantly, online betting was widely available for opening day. Online betting accounted for $158.15 million of all sports bets made during September in Pennsylvania. This makes for 81% of the total handle. By comparison, New Jersey’s online wagers accounted for 84% of September’s total.

Availability of online and mobile betting is absolutely critical when it comes to determining just how successful a state will be. Nevada has classically been the country’s leader when it comes to sports betting, but only 55% of their total handle for the month of July was placed via online or mobile apps. This is a big reason why PA and NJ are beginning to gain ground on NV when it comes to handle totals.

It certainly isn’t the only reason, though. Between Pennsylvania and New Jersey combined, there are more than 7 times as many people living in the region compared to Nevada. Throw neighboring New York state into the mix and that factor grows to 10 times as many people packed into three states that combine to form roughly the same size geographically as Nevada.

Handle numbers for September are not yet available from Nevada, but it is likely that they surpassed New Jersey in total wager despite losing in July and August. They posted a $571 million handle for the month of September last year. While Nevada likely reclaimed the throne, it is becoming quite clear that the New Jersey and Pennsylvania will soon be the new leaders for legal sports betting in the U.S. thanks to the availability of online sports betting and a much larger population.

 

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