Best US Sportsbooks · Weekly Update

August 27th, 2021 Weekly Report

July marked a sharp downturn in both legal sports betting volume and revenue. This was especially true in major markets such as New JerseyPennsylvania and Michigan.

However, the official launch of legal sports betting in South Dakota and Wisconsin received a boost in recent days. Finally, FanDuel is ready to launch in Arizona when that state goes live with legal sports betting on Sept. 9.



Anticipation continues to grow in Arizona for the official launch of legal sports betting. Staying true to its timeframe, the Arizona market is set to go live on Sept. 9. This happens to be the same day that the 2021 NFL regular season gets underway.

As the largest legal sportsbook in the US in terms of market share, FanDuel is finalizing its plans to go live that day as well. The Arizona Department of Gaming has issued an event wagering license to FanDuel to clear the way.

FanDuel, along with Penn National, will be licensed as the “designee”. The operator license in the state is tied to an actual professional sports team/franchise partner.

In the case of FanDuel, that operating partner is the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Arizona laws governing legal sports betting calls for one group of licenses to be issued to tribal gaming operators.

The other group consists of professional sports teams and in-state sports venues. This includes the Phoenix Suns as a professional NBA franchise. Penn National formed a partnership with the Phoenix Speedway as a qualifying sports venue.

Last fall, FanDuel first formed a strategic partnership with the Suns as a means to enter the legal Arizona market. This was the first major sports betting operator to partner with a professional sports franchise in the state.

This partnership gives FanDuel the opportunity to operate a retail sportsbook at the team’s Footprint Center in Phoenix.

The key aspect of this partnership is FanDuel’s ability to offer legal online sports betting statewide through its mobile sportsbook app.

As a side note, FanDuel also received a license to offer legal daily fantasy sports (DFS) throughout Arizona. Current plans call for a launch of the FanDuel DFS mobile app on Aug. 28.


The summer is traditionally the slowest time of the year for the legal sports betting industry in the US market. However, this past July took an even deeper slide in major markets such as New JerseyPennsylvania and Michigan.

The Garden State is the biggest legal sports betting market in the country in terms of the monthly betting handle. This refers to the total volume of money wagered on sports during a specific time frame.

July’s betting handle in New Jersey was $578.7 million as reported by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. This reflected a 24.5% drop from June’s handle of $766.9 million. This was also the smallest handle for sports betting this year in the Garden State.

Despite the fact that legal New Jersey sportsbook operators posted a healthy 9.5% hold, revenue dropped as well. The hold is the difference between the money paid out on winning bets and the money collected on losing wagers plus the standard 10% commission or juice.

Revenue figures for July dropped to $55 million. This was a 22.9% decline from the $71.3 million generated in revenue this past June.

Neighboring Pennsylvania took an even bigger dive in July on a month-to-month basis in both its betting handle and sportsbook revenue.

The state’s betting handle in July was $304.4 million. This was a 27.6% decline from June’s handle of $420.2 million. This was the third month in a row that betting volume declined from the previous month. This was also the lowest PA betting handle since July of 2020.

Revenue figures for legal PA sportsbook operators took an even bigger hit. Reported revenue for July came in at $27.5 million. This was a 35.3% drop from June’s reported revenue of $42.5 million.

Michigan expanded into legal mobile sports betting towards the end of January this year. Since then, this has been one of the strongest states for online sports betting from a growth trend standpoint.

That growth hit a bump in the road as well in the month of July. The total betting handle in Michigan came in at $206.3 million. This was 20.5% less than the $259.5 million wagered in the month of June.

This was the lowest monthly betting handle since January when the state took in $150.8 million. Most of that month’s handle was in retail sports betting volume. Legal mobile sports betting first went live in Michigan on Jan. 22.

Legal Michigan books posted a hold of 10.1% in the month of July. However, revenue figures for the month were rather bleak. July’s total revenue came in at $20.8 million. This number reflects a 21.6% decline from June’s total revenue of $24.9.

The good news for the entire legal US sports betting industry is the end of summer and the vacation season. It will be replaced by the new football season in early September. This should mark a return to record handles and revenue in most states with legal sports betting.


South Dakota approved legal sports betting last November on a limited basis. Since that point, the state has been busy going through the regulatory process to launch. Everything appears to be on track for a launch in conjunction with the new football season.

In a major step forward, BetMGM became the first legal US sportsbook to partner with an in-state casino partner.

Sports betting will be legal in Deadwood, South Dakota through retail sportsbooks. This is where the state currently offers legal land-based casinos.

BetMGM has partnered with LIV Hospitality, which owns and operates two casinos in Deadwood. Both the Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort will offer BetMGM-themed retail sportsbooks.

Along with legal sports betting at front counters, betting kiosks and mobile betting will be part of the mix.

Caleb Arceneaux is the CEO of LIV Hospitality. He released the following comments about the new partnership:

“BetMGM is an outstanding organization that brings credibility to our new sports betting offerings. Visitors now have another reason to come to Deadwood, while enjoying the many other entertainment opportunities at our resorts.”

Also weighing in with his thoughts was BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. His comments included:

“LIV Hospitality’s prime resort locations in Deadwood make it an ideal partner for us. Together. We look forward to bringing the BetMGM sports betting experience to South Dakota sports fans.”

The South Dakota Commission of Gaming has yet to release an official launch date for legal sports betting. However, all the parties involved remain optimistic that it will still be in conjunction with the start of the 2021 NFL regular season.


The first legal sportsbook in Wisconsin could go live as early as this November. That is according to the latest industry news out of this state.

The US Department of the Interior recently signed off on an updated tribal gaming compact. Previously this year, Gov. Tony Evers and the Oneida Nation came to terms on an updated agreement.

Under the terms of the new deal, Oneida Nation would be able to open legal sportsbooks at its casino gaming facilities. This includes a casino property near Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport.

In light of federal approval, plans are underway to go live with legal sports betting at the Main Street Casino. Louise Cornelius is the general manager for Oneida Casino Gaming. She mentioned that a sports betting operations partner would be announced in the coming weeks.

The casino could face some logistical delays as it works on getting the necessary operating systems and sports betting equipment. Backorders on certain components is a contributing factor in the setup process.

However, the Main Street Casino Sportsbook continues to target November for a possible launch. Already an official casino partner of the Green Bay Packers, the proposed sportsbook would be just a few miles from Lambeau Field.

The updated gaming compact does not include a provision for statewide mobile sports betting. The only legal outlet would be the retail sportsbooks at Oneida gaming venues. However, the tribe also has plans to create a mobile app that can be used within the casino properties.

Regulations exclude in-state college sports from legal betting. Yet, all the biggest professional sports leagues will be on the betting board. As an interesting sidenote, this will be one of the first retail sportsbooks in the US to accept wagers on major awards shows such as the Oscars.

Main Street Casino Sportsbook will open a temporary book in conjunction with its sports bar. Longer term plans call for the construction of a permanent sports betting lounge.

Actual betting will be available at a main counter and betting kiosks located throughout the facility. There were no set plans as to when the tribe’s mobile betting app would go live.

This would be the first of four possible retail sportsbooks in the Green Bay area. The Oneida Nation owns and operates three additional gaming facilities in the area along with the airport property.

Wisconsin does not have any legislative plans on the table to pursue legal commercial sports betting. Other than Oneida’s operating partner, major US books such as FanDuel and DraftKings will not have market access.

Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry expert. You can learn more about our author’s expertise here.

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