The volatility of the US sports wagering business was reflected in the numbers produced from Oregon’s December report. An example often overlooked by many inexperienced sources forecasting bottom-line revenues and goals for new opportunities expected involving US states entering the sports betting sector.
The total amount wagered (handle) in Oregon in December increased by a promising 7.8% after a decline in November, however, revenue fell off sharply by 25.9% from a record level in the previous month.
It was originally encouraging when reported in November that total handle and revenue in the state were the second-highest figures for a month since Oregon began sports wagering in October 2019.
The good news for Oregon was total sports betting handle for December was $26.99 million, reflecting almost a $2 million increase over November figures, according to figures from the Oregon Lottery. However, the more discouraging sign was revenue falling to $3.05 million during the month from a record of over $4.1 million in November.
A positive was the number of bets placed increasing by 2.4% to 843,235 month-on-month, with a higher average bet of $32 across 21,988 unique players.
The hold percentage for December was 11.3%, down from November’s record hold percentage of 16.44%. That figure still reflects an impressive result as the customary hold for most sportsbooks per month is estimated in the 6%-8% range.
Also, under the microscope, the December increase in handle and revenue numbers are to be judged special compared to many other US states. Oregon’s sports wagering operation is run by the Oregon Lottery on its Scoreboard app, which restricts college sports wagering. All college sports wagering for bettors must be done at Oregon’s casinos run by the state’s Native American tribes. Therefore, for example, any wagering on the state’s Oregon Ducks or Oregon State Beavers must be made onsite.
Not surprising, almost half (50.06%) of the wagers placed in December were on NFL and NCAA football. In November football had nearly 59% of the bets placed, likely diluted a bit because of the beginning of the NBA season. The total of $12.3 million bet on football decreased from $14.7 million wagered in November.
Oregon was boosted by the NBA’s new season start and the popular Portland Trail Blazers. Wagering for basketball took in $8.3 million, which is expected to increase in the January report. Soccer followed next with $3.1 million with table tennis contributing $1.7 million-plus mixed martial arts with slightly over $500,000.
Analyzing types of wagering, 572,284 wagers were placed before matches, compared to 270,951 during play, while 550,118 bets were single and teasers wages, with the other 293,117 being combo and systems.
These numbers are also encouraging to Oregon (and other US states) as the popularity of “in-game wagering” seems to be rapidly increasing. A sign the wagering public is recognizing their availability along with getting comfortable encompassing them into their sports betting routine.
In summation, Oregon experienced another positive month, but results are better judged on a 12-month basis for a business facing so many month-to-month changes. Especially during our unpredictable COVID-19 cycle.
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Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
Email: [email protected]
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