The Biggest Year For Sports Betting In The United States: A Look Back At 2023
2023 will be remembered for being a major growth year for the sports betting industry in America. Multiple new markets went live, and new sportsbook brands were launched. Many professional teams partnered with sports betting operators, while collegiate partnerships became a thing of the past. Let’s take a look back at this year’s biggest sports betting stories.
New And Returning Markets Enter Sports Betting In 2023
Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Maine are among notable markets that began accepting odds in 2023. Maryland launched online sports betting in 2023, although retail was already live launching in 2022. These new markets immediately made a splash in the sports betting industry. In particular, Ohio became a major market.
So far, in the first year of sports betting in Ohio, sportsbooks have seen more than $7 billion in wagers. The Ohio Control Commission reports reflect that $779,768,671 in taxable revenue was garnered, as well. Ohio’s strong betting market has placed it in the top five for the year.
The Massachusetts sports betting market also managed to establish itself in 2023. With the launch of sportsbooks in the Bay State, several changes were made to other sports betting markets. For starters, sportsbooks no longer promote using the terms like “risk-free” and “free bet” in their advertising.
Massachusetts lawmakers argued that it was misleading potential bettors. Instead, terms like “bonus bet” or “bet credit” became the norm. This represents the actual promotional earnings for fans. Massachusetts was also a pioneer in altering partnerships between sportsbooks and collegiate programs. So much so that following Massachusetts’s lead, the American Gaming Association updated its sports betting guidelines. Many of the rules established for the Massachusetts market became recommendations for all states in the sports betting industry.
Florida Legal Drama Dominates News Cycle
In addition to new markets going live, one market returned with the relaunching of Florida sportsbooks. The Hard Rock Bet app was able to begin accepting wagers in Florida again after the DC Court of Appeals overturned the 2021 District Court ruling that shuttered the market. Now, both online and retail sportsbooks are available in Florida, but the ongoing court case is still in flux.
Florida Sports Betting Timeline:
- June 30, 2023: The DC Court of Appeals overturned the District Court decision to stop sports betting operations in Florida.
- August 14, 2023: Florida sports betting opponent West Flagler files a petition to the DC Circuit Court for a rehearing of the June decision.
- September 11, 2023: West Flagler’s request for a rehearing is denied.
- November 7, 2023: Florida’s Hard Rock Bet app launches, returning online sports betting to existing customers.
- December 7, 2023: Hard Rock Bet launches fully to all Florida residents. Retail sportsbooks go live.
The Florida sports betting case is far from over, as West Flagler has taken things to the Florida Supreme Court. With the Florida Seminole Tribe proceeding with the relaunch, it is clear there is confidence that the ruling will remain and sports betting can continue.
New Operators Join The Sports Betting Industry
Two major brands entered the sports betting arena with Fanatics Sportsbook and ESPN BET. Both operators are established in the sports industry before entering sports betting. Fanatics had been working towards launching a sportsbook for some time, purchasing PointsBet’s US product in the process. Meanwhile, ESPN joined a multiyear partnership with Penn National, replacing Barstool as its sports betting brand.
The sports betting industry has been dominated by established operators such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM. However, with the strong brand recognition of Fanatics and ESPN, a potential shift at the top could be incoming in the coming years. Should the new juggernauts overtake the top brass, 2023 will be remembered as the year it all began.