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NFL football re-energized US sports betting in September, marking record monthly handles for many states across the nation. A strong rebound in viewership for NFL games, along with surging ad spends from popular online sportsbooks, is boosting engagement and the number of active bettors.

Related ETF & Stocks: Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ), DraftKings Inc. (DKNG), Flutter Entertainment plc (PDYPY), Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PENN)

NFL Football Pushes New Jersey Past the $1 Billion Mark

According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s September sports betting data, the state became the first to surpass a $1 billion handle in any single month. That broke NJ’s previous high of $996.3 million wagered in December 2020. More than 91% of the state’s handle was wagered through online sportsbooks.

The biggest driver of sports betting growth was undoubtedly the return of the National Football League (NFL). Per ESPN, New Jersey bettors put down more than $400.8 million on college and professional football games in September. The state had 70.5 million online gambling transactions over the first four weeks of the NFL season, the most of any state, according to GeoComply.

As MRP noted last month, a rebound in NFL viewership is expected to continue bolstering state betting totals, and the digital sportsbooks operating in those states, across the US.

Through the more than 60 games played through October 4, NFL games drew an average of 17.3 million television and digital viewers, according to data from Nielsen and the league. That is up 17% compared with the same stretch of time last season and, as the Wall Street Journal notes the highest level in six years.

Publicly traded sports betting companies have stepped up their ad spend this autumn in a mad dash to gobble up as many potential bettors as they can. In just a month’s time between September 9 and October 17, data indicates FanDuel (owned by Flutter Entertainment), DraftKings, and Caesars Entertainment Inc. have each spent more than $15 million on national advertising.

State Sportsbooks Surge Across the Board

In September, Pennsylvania sportsbooks took $578.8 million in bets, up 25% from $462.8 million in September 2020. That was the second-best handle in state history, behind only January 2021. Much like New Jersey, online sportsbooks represented 91% of the total sports betting handle. LegalSportsReport notes that FanDuel continues to lead the pack of online operators with about 35% of the state’s total online market. DraftKings trailed FanDuel with 31.2% of the market. Barstool Sportsbook (owned by Penn National Gaming) rounded out the top three with a 10% share of the market.

Michigan sports betting clocked a new all-time high of $386.8 million on the month. Sports betting had not yet been legalized in September 2020, but the state’s next-best handle was the $383.7 million wagered in March 2021. DraftKings is dominant in the state, controlling 30.2% of the total market, but reports that their sportsbook actually took a loss of $4.7 million in the state as it handed out a large sum of promotional money to aid with customer acquisition during the start of football season.

DraftKings is notorious for their massive ad spends. Of the company’s reported revenue…

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