The Mississippi Gaming Commission has released their September figures, and to say the state is happy it is football season would be a gross understatement. The handle figures for sports betting jumped all the way to 31 Million USD for the month, with football taking the lion’s share of the betting for the month. This is not entirely shocking, of course – more Americans bet on football than on any other sports, and the state is football-mad. Here is how the numbers break down according to the report:
- Total handle for the month: $31,700,000
- Win percentage for September: 17.3%
So, what have we learned from these numbers?
Holy cow, these are high hold percentages
The first thing that has to jump out at anyone who is involved in the industry is the fact that the hold percentage in Mississippi for September is off the charts. With an average hold percentage in Nevada hovering between 5-6%, 17.3% shows us that there is a lot of hype about sports betting – but not much success.
Now, the hold percentage could bealtered by accounting measures (closed bets versus including future bets that have not been completed), but it will still be somewhere in the 15% range at the worst.
While this is going to make people jump up and down for joy and start planning how to spend these profits monthafter month, it is important to remember why this is a bad figure. If this is, in fact, just a bunch of new gamblers who got crushed in the first month of football betting, that is a double-edged sword.
Having new players is excellent for the industry, but if they lose a tonout of the gate, they may just walk away and not bet anymore. The industry needs to provide a level of education to new players, sothey are bettors for a long time. We would be happy with ah old percentage around 8%, trust us.
Of course, it could very well be that it was just a month of football that featured a ton of upsets, and this will balance itself as the monthsprogress. That is why it is not smart torush to judgmentwith such a small sample size.
Football is king
This isn’t earth-shattering news, as we expected football to be the driving force behind the sports betting industry in the U.S. However,it is good to see that the newly-regulated market is performing along the same trendlines as the unregulated market.
Over half the amount of the handle bet in Mississippi in September came on football betting, which is great news. The profit numbers are even more staggering, with 72% of the revenues generated by the sport. We will likely see this type of behavior over the next few months as well – football is the golden goose for sportsbooks.
The baseball numbers are a bit skewed, mainly because the only games happening were playoff games for the second half of the month, and those are typically easier to bet. With baseball coming to an end for the year in October, we’ll see the profits increase across the board.
Wait until mobile is available
The fact that these figures are only from land-based betting is another great sign for the industry. As we have seen in New Jersey, the introduction of mobile betting should make a major impact on the handle and revenue figures in Mississippi.
Half of the handle in New Jersey in September came from mobile and online betting, and we expect similar numbers when they launch in this state. Of course, this will also lower the numbers at the retail level, but this is where marketing has to step in and give people a reason to come to the facilities, even if they are making their bets from their own devices.
This is an excellent set of numbers from Mississippi, but again it is important to remember not to overreact to them. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and the long-term viability of sports betting in the U.S. will rely on sportsbooks not getting toogreedy and players learning about how to bet, sothey aren’t losing their entire bankroll in a short period of time.