Which US states would have the biggest sports betting handle if gambling were legal in them all?

Sports have always been huge throughout North America, and this is certainly true when you look at Colorado. For example, Colorado State University (CSU) has a fervently followed college sports program which includes basketball, football and athletics. Colorado is also home to some famous pro sports teams, such as the Denver Broncos. All this means that sports are a big deal for students and the general public all across the Centennial State.


Due to this love for sports, it was no surprise to see sports betting legalized in the state during May 2020. Of course, Colorado was not the only US state to have made sports betting legal in recent years. There are a lot of other states who have allowed this and the list of where it is possible to legally bet on sports in the USA is growing fast.

Despite this, not all US states have legalized sports betting yet. With the amount of money wagered on sports in legalized states per month though, also known as the sports handle, it is expected that most states will allow it moving ahead. But which states might have the biggest sports handle if gambling were legal in them all?

New Jersey

 New Jersey was the state which challenged the status quo around sports betting and changed the game for everyone. As a result, they were the original state to open up to sports betting post-2018 (apart from Nevada) and have had longer to generate a huge sports handle figure. This now sits at just over $28bn to date!

Although it might not be the most populated state or the one with a lot of pro teams, the presence of Atlantic City helps to make this a top spot for sports betting with visitors. Residents of NJ are also fierce sports fans and love to place bets on teams either within the state or in nearby New York. While following the latest CSU football news might be big in Colorado, the love people in NJ have for sports is something else!


With a combined sports handle of over $25bn to date, Nevada is also a major player. This is not a surprise when you consider that this was the only state which allowed sports betting pre-2018, which has given it a long history in the industry.

Due to this, people are used to visiting Nevada to bet on sports and the people who live there are used to gambling on them. All this combines with plenty of options in terms of online sportsbooks and apps to make this state one of the biggest in terms of sports handle in the US.



Pennsylvania was the seventh state to legalize sports betting after the 2018 US Supreme Court Ruling. It is also a state which has a real love for sports, and which has plenty of sports fans who like to bet on games for fun. There are also some very famous pro sports teams here, such as the 76ers and the Eagles, who attract lots of followers who bet on matches.

Pennsylvania is also one of the most populated US states and home to around 12 million people. All this has combined to make it one of the top states in terms of handle. This has allowed it to rake in around $15bn in sports betting handle to date!

California and Texas could be in the picture

All the above states have opened up to legal sports betting already and we know from the numbers returned that they are the biggest around, but what about the states who might legalize this activity in the future? While it is hard to say who could generate huge sports handles for sure, we suspect that California and Texas will be big markets.

Both are states with huge populations, making them places with plenty of people to spend money betting on sports. In addition, both Texas and California are sports-mad! This love for sports would likely result in residents there welcoming being able to legally wager on matches. If you also factor in the number of tourists both states welcome per year and the money they could spend on betting, their sports handles could be huge.


Future of sports betting in USA could be interesting

There is no doubt that the US sports betting sector has changed dramatically in recent years. This is true not only in Colorado but in other states too. Looking ahead is always tricky but we feel the above states would lead the way if betting were to become legal across the entire US.