Sports Books Were A Slam Dunk For Nevada Casinos In 2017

Written By Marc Meltzer on February 15, 2018
bricks of money in basketball hoop

Shortly after 2017 ended the Nevada Gaming Control Board released full-year revenue for Nevada casinos. Not only did sports book operators report more money wagered on sports in 2017 than the previous year, they won more than the year before as well. There was $4,868,434,000 wagered on sports in Nevada last year.

According to UNLV Gaming, sports bettors in Nevada wagered more money on football in Nevada than the previous year since 2010. That’s eight consecutive years of record-breaking money bet on sports. Here’s a breakdown of how much money was wagered on the big three sports in Nevada.

  • Football – $1,755,616,000
  • Basketball – $1,481,881,000
  • Baseball – $1,139,783,000

Other sports such as hockey, boxing, and mixed martial arts boasted total wagers of $427,579,000. Expect to see this number increase in 2018. Sports book operators say they’ve seen a large increase in hockey betting since the Vegas Golden Knights dropped their first puck of the season. The sports book operators in Nevada might take a big hit if the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup.

There was $62,923,000 in parlay wagering in 2017. That’s the most money wagered on parlays (and teasers) since 2011.

Mobile sports wagering big for Nevada sportsbooks

On a recent episode of the Sharp 600 podcast the VP of Business Development for CG Technology Matthew Hold said that mobile wagering typically accounts for about 62 – 65 percent of their handle on sports bets. That’s amazing growth for mobile sports wagering which is less than 10 years old.

Chuck Esposito recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “the mobile app has really brought the sports book to the palm of your hand,” and that it’s “really helped contribute to the increase in handle across the board.”

Still, mobile sports wagering isn’t for everyone. When there are major events like the Super Bowl, many tourists are still standing in line placing bets in person. Holt says that their mobile wagering handle during the 2018 Super Bowl was lower than normal. Only about 40 – 45 percent of the handle on the Super Bowl in 2018 came from mobile wagers.

Sports books win just over 5% in 2017

Nevada sports books won 5.11% of the total amount bet on sports in 2017. Overall, sports book operators won $248,777,000 from the $4,868,434,000 wagered in 2017.

Even though football is still king, the sports books actually won more money from basketball bettors. Last year sportsbooks won $87,431,000 in basketball bets and $76,896,000 in football bets.

2017 was a big year for basketball

Football betting is still king of the sports book but basketball is hot on its heels. For the sixth consecutive year, more money was wagered on basketball than the previous year. The Nevada Gaming Control Board doesn’t separate college from professional sports, so there’s no exact way to tell if this is due to the popularity of March Madness or the NBA.

The answer is most likely a combination of both. Between Instagram and Twitter, the NBA seems to be the hottest professional sports league on social media. Meanwhile, the biggest basketball weekend of the year, March Madness, doesn’t attract the sharpest sports bettors and certainly accounts for a large win for casino sportsbooks.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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