Why New Hampshire Sports Betting Numbers Were Down In February – And Why It’s No Big Deal

Written By Derek Helling on March 30, 2021

February was a down month for DraftKings Sportsbook and the New Hampshire Lottery. Blame the Gregorian calendar and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Just like in most of the rest of the country, New Hampshire sports betting revenue took a bit of a downturn in the second month of 2021.

Understanding why requires a look at how New Hampshirites bet the biggest sports betting event of the year. In grasping that, it also becomes clear why no one at DraftKings or the state lottery is getting any gray hairs over this.

Looking into February 2021 New Hampshire sports betting revenue

The raw numbers for New Hampshire sports betting last month are $50.99 million in handle and $1.77 million in hold. As compared to January of this year, that’s a drop of almost 15% in handle along with a decline of over 57% in revenue.

Compared to February 2020, revenue was actually up over half a million dollars. February last year also saw a dip from the previous month, about 14.3%. So, why does this normally happen?

First off, February is the shortest month of the year. In 2021, that translated to one less weekend, which is prime time for sports betting. Additionally, January is usually chock-full of NFL playoff games.

But why was there such a drastic drop this year in revenue as compared to last year? Well, you can blame that on former long-time New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the love that New Hampshirites have for him.

Brady burned more than the Kansas City Chiefs in February

Despite the fact that Brady won his seventh Super Bowl in a Tampa Bay uniform, New Hampshire bettors backed him heavily, at an 81% clip. DraftKings Sportsbook listed the Buccaneers as 3-point underdogs at -110 odds prior to Super Bowl LV. On the moneyline, Tampa Bay sat at +135.

Because the Bucs covered and won outright, NH bettors claimed nearly $9 million in winnings on their bets. That surpassed the $7.1 million in handle on the event at DraftKings in the Granite State. Thus, DraftKings and the lottery took a loss on the event.

So while sportsbooks in other parts of the country cleaned up on bettors’ preferences for Kansas City, the opposite was the case in New Hampshire.

Don’t feel bad for DraftKings or the lottery, though. The current month is a great opportunity for them to recover on the year.

Sports betting hope springs eternal in March

March came with not only a full complement of 31 days and four weekends, but March Madness betting as well. With 67 games in the men’s tournament and many markets available on women’s tourney games, too, that amounts to a lot of opportunities to keep bettors’ wagers.

Unfortunately, there is no historical data to draw upon that is relevant here. Legal sports betting didn’t begin in New Hampshire until December 2019. Last March, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down both tournaments and the rest of the sports world. So this year’s edition of March Madness will be the first glimpse at how popular college basketball betting is in the state.

If NH bettors perform like those in many other places, this should be a good month for DraftKings and the lottery. It could even be strong enough to compensate for what Brady and the Bucs did last month.

Photo by AP / David J. Phillip
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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