States That Have Generated Most Legal Sports Betting Revenue

Eric Uribe
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
States That Have Generated Most Legal Sports Betting Revenue

The United States has officially started to release full data on the revenue generated by regions that have legalized sports betting. Information is available dating back more than three years and covers every state that has implemented legalized sports betting in some capacity, from original locations like Nevada and New Jersey to newcomers such as Pennsylvania.

With these figures now available, we can take a look at the states that have generated the most legal sports betting revenue since 2018. 

*Please note that the included data is accurate as of mid-August 2021 and only refers to tax revenue kept by the state itself and not the total amount of sports-betting business done by each location.

States with Most Sports Betting Revenue

Right about now, you might be wondering: Why should I care about which states have made the most money since 2018 from legalized sports betting? It's a fair question. And the answer isn't all that complicated.

Legalized sports betting is inevitable just about everywhere at this point. Even the staunchest holdouts are eventually expected to cave. And the primary reason why current opponents are anticipated to change their tune? Prospective revenue.

Sports betting is getting too lucrative for certain states to simply pass on it. Not only are residents placing wagers anyway, be it at the top online sportsbooks or in other states, but the coronavirus pandemic shook every state's economic core and changed life in a way that will leave a lasting financial impact. Legalized sports betting is a way to recoup lost revenue—and then some.

It used to be that states against the idea didn't think the model was sustainable or worth jumping through the necessary hoops. That logic might have worked once upon a time. It doesn't anymore. Other states now have years of financials to back up the benefit of legalized sports betting. Let's take a look at the five states generating the biggest revenue streams from it, and you'll understand why.

1. Pennsylvania

penslyvenia odds

Tax Revenue Generated Since 2018: $156,516,712

Average Tax Revenue Per Year: $44.7 million

Pennsylvania is perhaps the biggest argument in favor of holdout states legalizing sports gambling.

Most tend to think that New Jersey or Nevada will grab the top spot since they have the longest tenure of legalized sports betting. Yet, here comes Pennsylvania, which is not even an especially densely populated state to take the lead and only introduced legal sports betting in the near past.

Consider this a victory of circumstance. Pennsylvania is centrally located in the Northeast and garnered a lot of customers from the tri-state area before New York loosened their own sports-betting restrictions.

2. New Jersey

Tax Revenue Generated Since 2018: $152,621,569

Average Tax Revenue Per Year: $43.6 million

This is a predictable finish for New Jersey. They were among the first states to legalize sports betting across the entire region and had Atlantic City, known as the Las Vegas of the East Coast, to carry its revenue stream.

And speaking of Atlantic City: Since its revenue is folded into New Jersey's final tally, this $43.6 million average per year is actually on the lower end. Tourism has been down for the past year and a half amid the coronavirus pandemic. There's a chance that number explodes once things return to normal.

3. Nevada

Tax Revenue Generated Since 2018: $67,053,555

Average Tax Revenue Per year: $19.2 million

Nevada gives us yet another predictable finish. They housed legal sports betting across the state well before 2018 and, thanks to Las Vegas, represent the hottest tourist spot when it comes to gambling.

Like New Jersey, Nevada's total tax revenue generated is misleadingly low. Las Vegas was hit the hardest of any sports-betting location as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Even as things have reopened, they still aren't back to full operating capacity or tourist numbers. 

While the decrease in foot traffic no doubt poses some concerns, it's also wild to think that Nevada's annual tax revenue generated from sports betting could soon more than double.

4. Illinois

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Tax Revenue Generated Since 2018: $60,967,638

Average Tax Revenue Per Year: $17.4 million

When you dig into the details, Illinois might actually provide the strongest argument in favor of legalized sports betting in a normal state.

For starters, sports betting isn't even yet legal in the entire region. They are only beginning to hash out parameters for implementing it in Chicago. 

That they still take the fourth-place spot is kind of incredible. Sure, they've had legalized sports betting, in certain places, for the entirety of this three-and-a-half-year span. But they aren't benefiting from tourism like Las Vegas or Nevada. This essentially proves that there is a market for sports betting in regions that rely predominantly on their own residents.

5. Delaware

Tax Revenue Generated Since 2018: $38,586,853

Average Tax Revenue Per year: $11.0 million

Delaware is another place that will see even greater gains in its tax revenue from sports betting once tourism returns to its previous heights.

Though most don't associate Delaware with vacationers, there are actually sections of the state that see demonstrative increases in population during the summer months due to their proximity to Maryland and their Ocean City beaches.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we'd fully expect to see Delaware gleaning $20-plus million per year from sports-betting taxes.

Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use when you don't have access to an on-site bookie:

Meet the author

Eric Uribe

Eric has been passionate about sports since he was 10 years old. He brings over 10 years of sports journalism experience to his expert coverage of sports betting. Hailing from the US, Eric leverages his diverse expertise covering sports at all levels – from high schoo...

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