New Hampshire Sports Betting Feeling Effects of Widespread Legal Gambling

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Aug 31, 2023 12:00 AM
Is New Hampshire sports betting on the decline?

Ever since sports betting in New Hampshire went live at the end of 2019, the state has, for the most part, enjoyed steady growth in revenue. Over the past few months, however, that’s all changed. In fact, New Hampshire sports betting may actually be on the decline.

To be sure, this isn’t a novel occurrence. It’s happening in other states—mostly those that were among the first to legalize sports betting. New Hampshire ranked among those early entrants. The United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act back in May of 2018. The first legal sports bet in New Hampshire was officially placed on December 30, 2019, around 18 months later. Other states had their legal sports betting services up even earlier than that. Relative to the rest of the country, though, New Hampshire sports betting was among the quickest to debut.

This is all to say, The Granite State’s current predicament is far from unique. The bigger issue(s): How extensive is this dilemma? What’s the root cause of the decline in New Hampshire sports betting revenue? And, above all, has the state’s gambling market permanently peaked?

How Far is New Hampshire Sports Betting Revenue Falling?

At one time, New Hampshire was reporting month-over-month revenue increases that bent the mind. Now, however, the numbers are traveling in the polar opposite direction. Most recently, the state has started seeing double-digit month-over-month dips

That has continued to be the case this summer. New Hampshire recently released their revenue reports for July 2023. (These earnings reports are always one month behind the current betting period.) The results were not pretty. On the contrary, they bordered on ghastly. Robert Fletcher of iGaming unpacked the returns: 

“July’s handle in New Hampshire was down from $42.7 million in July 2022 and also 6.1 percent lower than $39.3 million in June this year. Of this total, $33.4 million was wagered online with DraftKings and $3.5 million at retail sportsbooks. DraftKings has held the exclusive rights to offer sports betting online via the New Hampshire Lottery since November 2019. Turning gross gaming revenue from wagering, this amounted to $3.5 million. The July total was down 22.2 percent from $4.5 million last year and 20.5 percent behind $4 million in June 2023. Breaking down the monthly revenue performance, some $1.4 million came from online betting with DraftKings. Retail sportsbooks generated just $179,994 in revenue.”

This can be a lot to take in, so allow us to simplify it for you: New Hampshire sports betting in July 2023 decreased by 13.6 percent compared to July 2022. Also, retail sports gambling is on the stark decline while online wagering continues to make up a larger share of the pie.

Why Has The Granite State’s Sports Betting Revenue Started Incurring More Dramatic Fluctuations? 

It should be noted that New Hampshire’s July drop is not necessarily typical. It is an abnormally large fall. There have been months this year when New Hampshire sports betting revenue has increased year-over-year. To that end, the state’s overall sports gambling handle is actually up from 2022.

With that said, the month-to-month and annual returns have been more of a guessing game over the past couple of years. The driving force behind this unpredictability? An increased accessibility of legal sports betting in the United States.

For so long, New Hampshire’s gaming laws were in the minority. But now, more than half of the USA allows sports betting. As a result, The Granite State is no longer generating as much revenue from residents in nearby locations.

The biggest blow came less than two years ago, when sports betting in New York went live. The Empire State is no worse than the third largest sports market in the United States. Yet, they were behind the curve when it came to legal sports gambling. New Yorkers often flocked to Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and, yes, New Hampshire to get their sports betting fix

This all changed in January 2022. That’s when legal sports betting in New York officially debuted. Since then, The Empire State has become the most lucrative sports betting market in the USA, thanks in large part to the continued absence of gambling in California, Texas and, to a lesser extent, Florida. Losing that revenue stream hurt New Hampshire, as well as other states around New York.

Has the New Hampshire Sports Betting Market Officially Peaked? 

As part of this new reality, experts have openly wondered whether the New Hampshire sports betting market and others like it have seen their potential peak. While it’s a distinct possibility, we wouldn’t quite go that far.

Every state will benefit from the increased popularity of sports betting, even if they are no longer in the minority of locations offering it. More than that, in New Hampshire’s case, they still haven’t utilized all the tools at their disposal.

Right now, DraftKings is the only mobile operator licensed in the state. New Hampshire can explore letting more of the best online sportsbooks in the USA enter the market. Creating competition for DraftKings could both drum up additional interest while diversifying the state’s financial returns. 

Whether New Hampshire will go this route remains to be seen. It isn’t immediately clear how long the exclusive deal with DraftKings is expected to last. But at least the state will eventually have other options to explore. In the meantime, New Hampshire must become accustomed to riding the month-to-month sports betting revenue roller coaster.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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