Nevada Sportsbooks Can’t ‘Handle’ NFL Draft Betting

Written By Marc Meltzer on May 16, 2022
NFL Draft betting may be reduced or eliminated in Nevada

Betting on the NFL Draft in Nevada has always been a bit of a challenge. Unfortunately, that could become even more difficult next year.

Many sports bettors thought gambling on the NFL Draft would be easier this year with the event taking place in Las Vegas. Not so fast my friend.

The NFL Draft betting menus this year were limited as usual. Still, Nevada sportsbook operators took it on the chin from smart sports bettors using available information as a weapon.

Looking forward, there may be even fewer NFL Draft betting opportunities in Nevada. There could even be some Nevada sportsbooks that don’t offer NFL Draft betting at all.

NFL Draft betting in Nevada

The Nevada Gaming Control Board requires that all Nevada sportsbooks stop taking bets 24 hours before the event. It also limits the number of propositions “props” a sportsbook can offer.

Once again, the majority of Nevada sportsbooks were only offering small NFL Draft betting menus. In addition, some sportsbooks only offered NFL Draft for a limited time — even with the event taking place in Las Vegas.

Betting on the NFL Draft is a fun option for football fans. Initially, anything available for gambling on the event was a welcome sight. The Silver State was the first to offer NFL Draft betting. Both sportsbook operators and bettors took the regulations in stride.

Since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), sportsbooks in states all over the country are now offering NFL Draft betting. Each state has its own sports betting regulations.

Since this is the case, some sportsbooks offer more types of bets for a longer time. There’s even live betting available on the NFL Draft in some markets.

The Nevada regulations for NFL Draft betting can be confusing for residents and tourists alike. It’s easy to understand the confusion with various national media promoting different sportsbooks with dissimilar odds and rules.

An example of this is with multi-state sportsbook operations like BetMGM and Caesars. These companies offer different NFL Draft betting menus in every state.

The Nevada NFL Draft betting menu for these sportsbooks was different from, say, Michigan and New Jersey. Many Nevada residents and tourists visiting Las Vegas for the NFL Draft aren’t aware of this.

While the corporations want to offer whatever they can to increase handle, independent sportsbook operators try to limit exposure.

The different tactics make sense. Unfortunately, this could mean fewer NFL Draft betting options in Nevada next year and beyond.

Different strokes for different folks

Sportsbook operators around the world have different business models. The independent sportsbooks in Nevada have different goals than the national multi-state corporations.

The larger corporate sportsbook operators have liquidity in the NFL Draft betting market around the country. A loss in a small state like Nevada may be offset by revenue generated in other states where the companies operate.

Ultimately, the goal of the larger companies is to have more money wagered. In time, the more money gambled should turn into increased profits. Large corporations have the flexibility of not showing profits right away as they’re building their sports betting business.

Independent Nevada sportsbook operators like South Point and smaller national brands like Circa and Westgate have different business models. The privately operated businesses are more concerned with showing a profit today than three years in the future.

While the large corporations are less concerned about making money today, the smaller shops feel differently. Additionally, the large corporations have large staffs to help make odds for the NFL Draft and all other items on the betting menus. The smaller operators have staffs that are commensurate with their size.

NV sportsbook operators aren’t making money from NFL Draft betting

In a normal business, if a product doesn’t make money the company stops making or selling the item. Betting on the NFL Draft in Nevada could fall into a similar category.

If a sportsbook operator doesn’t make money taking bets on certain events, there’s a reason for that sportsbook not to offer those events.

Some would say some sportsbooks only want to take bets on events they think can make money. Businesses, sportsbooks, or otherwise, can operate the way they see fit.

South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he hates booking the NFL Draft. He also says the following about the event:

“I put it up because it’s here in town. Next year, it might not be up at all. The NFL Draft has never been a moneymaker for South Point.”

Regarding the NFL Draft, Andrews says South Point has “lost on it every year.”

This isn’t only a South Point issue. SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay isn’t a fan of booking the NFL Draft either.

Circa oddsmaker Chris Bennett might have put the best comment on the topic from a bookmaker saying “My No. 1 rule in bookmaking is don’t get killed, and that doesn’t apply more than the NFL draft.”

All of these sportsbook operators are in the business of showing profits today — not in the future. It would not be a surprise to see even fewer NFL Draft betting options next year.

It may not be fun to hear, but it makes sense for businesses looking to generate profit to weed out the unprofitable offerings.

NFL Draft betting is not only a Nevada problem

Taking bets on the NFL Draft isn’t only a problem for Nevada sportsbooks. Smart sports bettors will shop around looking for the best odds. This is a fairly normal strategy from experienced sports bettors.

A sports bettor in Colorado ran into a problem placing NFL Draft bets at Barstool sportsbook inside Ameristar Casino. This particular NFL Draft betting problem is so serious that the Colorado Division of Gaming is looking into the matter.

Per PlayColorado:

“The state agency said Friday it is investigating James Salinas’ claims that the Ameristar Casino’s Barstool Sportsbook in Black Hawk changed its stated/posted betting limits and odds at the counter while he was attempting to place two NFL Draft bets earlier this month.”

The issue was brought to the attention during an interview on the Vegas Sports and Information Network (VSiN).

Refusing to take a bet or limiting the size isn’t out of the ordinary for some sportsbook operators. However, changing the odds after agreeing to take a bet at a lower limit is a different issue.

This incident could be part of a larger problem with this sportsbook operator. It’s also an example of how difficult it is for sportsbook operators around the country to take bets on the NFL Draft.

We’ll hear more about this specific incident in the future.

The bottom line on NFL Draft betting is that there are some sportsbook operators that either don’t want to or don’t know how to deal with taking bets on the event. While bettors are looking for a fun gamble, some businesses have to pay attention to the bottom line and may not find this worth the time and effort.

It would not be surprising if Nevada sportsbooks offer even fewer NFL Draft betting options in 2023.

Photo by Vera Nieuwenhuis/Associated Press
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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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