Sports Cancellations Cost States Big Time

David Dobbins
March 19, 2020

This year’s sports cancellations, including the NBA and March Madness, have left many states with far fewer tax dollars than expected.

Since it was legalized by the Supreme Court in 2018, sports betting has been legalized by state governments across the country. Last year, nine states legalized sports betting. This brings the total number of states with legalized sports betting to 16. Additionally, CO, MT, TN, NC and DC have passed legislation enabling sports betting, but have not yet enabled it.

Revenue

The amount of tax dollars that states expected to receive from sports betting varied drastically. Below are a few examples:

  • Delaware: $5 million per year
  • New Jersey: $12-$17 million per year
  • Rhode Island: $23.5 million per year
  • Illinois: $60 million per year (this is three times what Nevada receives every year)

For most states, sports betting makes up around one percent of their general revenue. However, tens of millions of dollars is nothing to scoff at. And the longer sports are suspended, the more their absence is felt. It is likely that states will attempt to make up for this loss in revenue, but it is too early to know specifics.

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David Dobbins

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