Sports Betting Grows Quickly in the U.S. but Still Lags Compared to Europe

The sports betting industry has taken the U.S. by storm ever since The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was struck down on May 18th, 2018, with more than half of the states now allowing the pastime in some form. Despite rapid growth, the U.S. sports betting market still lags far behind Europe. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the current state of sports betting in both regions and discuss why Europe is currently outpacing the U.S.

U.S. Sports Betting Market: Crunching the Numbers 

According to some sports betting statistics, the total sports betting handle in 2021 in the U.S. was over $57 billion, an all-time high. That record is about to be broken as the industry is off to a flying start in 2022. 

As reported by the American Gaming Association, U.S. sportsbooks made $26.34 billion in handle from January to March, which is an all-time high. This represents an increase of more than 102% from the first quarter of 2021 when $13.02 billion was earned. Revenue from sports betting also soared to $1.58 billion, beating the previous record of $1.55 billion set in Q4 of last year.

In part, this growth can be attributed to several new markets, most notably New York, which has become the latest hotspot for U.S. sports betting. According to the New York State Gaming Commission, NY online sportsbooks have collected $1.67 in wagers in their first 24 days of operation alone. 

This is a foreshadowing of the things to come. Several states have passed legislation to authorize sports betting in 2021, including Arizona, Ohio, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Florida. 

How Does the U.S. Sports Betting Market Stack Up Against Europe? 

In Europe, sports betting is not only a big business; it’s a way of life. The continent has a long and rich history with the practice, and bettors there have a wide array of options to choose from.

In 2021, Europe generated approximately $40 billion in Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR), and sports betting accounted for nearly 40% of the revenue. This is three times as much as the revenue generated in the U.S. sports betting industry during the same period. Europe’s top five markets based on GGR are the UK, Italy, France, Germany, and Spain. 

Sports betting in Europe is dominated by soccer and horse racing. Across the pond, major sporting events enjoy the most betting attention, although niche sports like golf, MMA, and tennis are gaining popularity. F1 has also become a popular niche sport to wager on in the U.S., with Netflix’s Drive to Survive documentary cited as the reason for the growth.

Huynh Nguyen

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