No Longer King, Nevada Sports Betting Far From Dead After Record-Setting Month

Written By Marc Meltzer on November 25, 2020

October was another record-breaking month for Nevada sportsbooks.

Overall gaming revenue for the Silver State decreased year over year. However, there was more money wagered on sports in one month than ever before.

Nevada enjoyed a record sports betting handle of $659.6 million in October.

Despite seeing fewer tourists than last year, sports betting increased 21.3% from October 2019. Coincidentally, that month previously held the record for monthly handle with $614.5 million in wagers.

While there was a record amount of money wagered, sportsbooks won less than a year ago. Last month, Nevada sportsbooks won $42.4 million. On a percentage basis, sportsbooks held 6.43% in October, lower than the 8.81% held at this time last year.

Online sports betting in Nevada rises

Mobile wagering in October accounted for 57.1% of all sports bets placed in Nevada. All told, sportsbooks took in $376.8 million in wagers via Nevada sports betting apps for the month. While that’s an increase from September, it’s well short of July, which saw 69% of all bets placed online.

Nevada continues to lag behind states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania in mobile sports betting. For comparison, New Jersey saw 93% of its handle from online and mobile wagering in October.

The major difference is that both New Jersey and Pennsylvania allow players to sign up for online and mobile sports betting accounts without visiting casinos. The remote account setup and funding for sports betting apps make them more accessible.

Bettors in Nevada, however, must visit a retail sportsbook inside of a casino in order to set up mobile sports betting accounts. Once an account is established, most Nevada sportsbook apps will allow players to deposit and withdraw without visiting brick-and-mortars. Nearly all sports betting apps in Nevada use Play+ for their mobile transactions.

Online sports betting handle and revenue in Nevada will continue to trail other states that allow remote account setup and funding. The ease of registration will encourage new players to sign up. Of course, available signup promotions don’t hurt either.

There is one upside to this model for mobile sports bettors in Nevada: Unlike some sportsbooks in other states, there’s usually no wait to withdraw money from a sports betting app in the Silver State. There’s almost always a waiting period to withdraw funds from online sportsbooks in other states.

Nevada falling behind other states in sports betting handle

October wasn’t only a record-breaking month for Nevada. New Jersey set a national record with $803 million wagered on sports last month. That’s 18% higher than the amount wagered with Nevada sportsbooks.

Nevada sports betting isn’t quite the king it used to be. In 2019, the Silver State had a population of approximately 3.08 million. New Jersey, meanwhile, stood at 8.88 million. Additionally, New Jersey borders two of the six largest cities in the US. Combined, New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, totaled nearly 10 million people with quick access to New Jersey sports betting.

Of course, Las Vegas has a large base of tourists visiting who may wager on sports. However, even if Sin City returns to seeing 42 million visitors, it won’t make the same impact as residents and regional visitors from neighboring large markets who can set up accounts without driving to a casino. By the way, visitation in October was down nearly 50% from last year.

Don’t be surprised to see more states with large populations jump ahead of Nevada sports betting. Pennsylvania, Illinois and Michigan could be the next states with larger sports betting handles.

Good news and bad news from overall gaming revenue in October

First, the bad news: Nevada’s overall gaming revenue came in at $822.6 million in October. That’s a decrease of 19.5% from the same time last year. Now the good news: Nevada casinos won more in October than September 2020, when they won $821.1 million.

Sports betting didn’t just have a big month compared with previous months. The money casinos won from sports betting was more than some other traditional casino games.

Casino win from sports betting is often lower than the most popular games. Here’s a breakdown of how much Nevada casinos won from the most popular games:

  • Slot Machines: $565 million
  • Blackjack $60.2 million
  • Baccarat $59.3 million
  • Sports $42.4 million
  • Craps $27.6 million
  • Roulette $18.5 million

The big difference from other months in this October breakdown is that casinos usually win more from craps and roulette than sports betting. Both games, however, saw double-digit losses from the same month last year. Craps win was down 13.02%, while roulette win decreased a whopping 34.41% from a year ago.

While Nevada sports betting might not have the best mobile experience in the US, it certainly helps generate revenue from residents who may not want to visit a casino while coronavirus continues to spread around the state.

Photo by Dreamstime
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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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