Despite a pandemic setback, 2020 was when sports betting secured its foothold in the United States.
The year started with 14 active betting states. By the end of the year, six more markets went live and three states voted to legalize sports betting. By the end of 2021, there could be at least 25 active sports betting states in the U.S.
Market Movers: In January, Penn National Gaming acquired 36% of Barstool Sports for $136 million. Penn’s stock has gained more than 200% this year as Barstool Sportsbook continues to announce new markets and retail sportsbook locations.
DraftKings went public in April following a SPAC merger in late 2019. Since, DraftKings shares have jumped more than 150% and the company has a market cap of nearly $20 billion.
Sportsbook operators and sport organizations signed dozens of partnerships throughout 2020 to help operators secure market share and provide teams and leagues with new revenue streams.
Beyond sports entities, sportsbooks paired with media companies and influencers — like PointsBet’s deal with NBC worth more than $500 million and FanDuel’s partnership with NBA Hall of Famer and Turner Sports analyst Charles Barkley.
Wager Rollercoaster: The year started with a bang, with both Nevada and New Jersey handling more than $500 million worth of bets in January. After COVID-19 shut sports down, those states saw wager amounts drop to below $60 million in April.
Without traditional U.S. sports, bettors gravitated to Belarusian soccer and table tennis — a sport that remains popular in Colorado despite the return of major leagues.
Since all major U.S. sports returned in August, sports betting has been on a tear. New Jersey has set all-time single state wager records in four straight months, nearing $1 billion in November.
October marked the first time U.S. bettors legally wagered $3 billion, with no end for the growth in sight.