Videos by OutKick
Five years ago, sports betting was nearly universally illegal in the United States. People could bet at Las Vegas casinos, but that was about it. Five years later, with many states now allowing legal sports betting, the industry is booming.
In fact, Nevada is no longer the leader in sports betting revenue. That distinction belongs to New Jersey. According to Axios, New Jersey sportsbooks took $36.7 BILLION in total bets since it became legal in 2018, collecting $2.6 billion in revenue.
That beat Nevada, second in the US, which collected $1.8 billion in revenue on $31.9 billion in total bets (also called the “handle”).
New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois each took in over $20 billion in handle and over $1.5 billion in revenue. Those fives states are the only ones to record over $1 billion in revenue.
Of course, three of the largest states in the United States — California, Florida and Texas — do not yet have legal wagering. No question that those three would rank among the largest handle and revenue states should they ever make it legal.
In total, 22 different US states see sports betting handles over $1 billion. That generates a ton of tax money for the government, too.
Universal sports betting in America seems inevitable
Therein lies the reason to believe that eventually sports betting will be universally legal. It’s hard for any government to turn down money. Downright impossible.
And, surprise, surprise, people enjoy gambling. They enjoy it a lot.
Can gambling ruin people’s lives? Sure, if they let it. But so can alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, prescription drugs and many other things that are legal in the United States. Hell, junk food ruins plenty of lives.
They key to sports betting, like everything in life, is doing it in moderation. And that’s the beauty of America.
As adults, people are free to make choices. And, it’s their own responsibility to make sure their choices don’t ruin their lives.
It’s not the government’s responsibility.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak