Nevada Sports Bettors Benefit And Suffer Five Years After PASPA Repeal

Written By Marc Meltzer on May 30, 2023
Navada online sports betting a mixed bag five years after PASPA repealed.

It’s been just over five years since the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The law limited sports betting to Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

Once the law was struck down, other states in the country were allowed to legalize sports betting. New Jersey was the first new state to legalize sports betting after the repeal. Today, there are more than 35 states which offer legal sports betting.

This has spawned a new sports betting industry, with Nevada on the fringe. The repeal of PASPA has provided both benefits and drawbacks to those betting on sports in Nevada.

Nevada behind other states in online sports betting technology

Nevada is the epicenter of gambling in the world, so it makes sense that Nevada sports betting would also be the pride of the industry. Nevada was the first to offer online sports betting in the US. It continues to thrive even as more and more states legalize sports wagering.

By design, Nevada sports betting is disconnected from the rest of the country.

Every sportsbook operator outside of Nevada is considered a separate company. Businesses that operate sportsbooks in Nevada use a different platform outside of The Silver State. Companies like Caesars (and William Hill), Circa, MGM, Westgate SuperBook, and Wynn all use different platforms outside of Nevada.

Unlike mobile sports betting in Nevada, online sportsbooks in other states operate on all computer devices, from mobile phones to desktop computers. The platforms in other states also offer the latest technology, new ways to wager, a variety of promotions and larger betting menus.

The companies that operate in Nevada still use older and outdated mobile betting platforms. While an app can be used in multiple states outside of Nevada, it will not work in Las Vegas or anywhere inside state lines. It’s inconvenient for tourists and it leaves residents behind the technology curve.

Nevada sports betting app performance is also sluggish and not as slick as out-of-state online sportsbooks.

The betting menus are smaller than in other states since the platforms aren’t linked. Nevada sportsbook menus are approximately 65% to 75% the size of those around the country.

The Nevada apps don’t have nearly the same number of wager types available, either. Last year, Caesars said it would bring its newest technology to Nevada. That hasn’t happened yet. The company promises to do so before football season begins. If this happens, Nevada residents could have access to a larger betting menu, new type of wagers like single game parlays, and numerous promotions.

In-person registration of online betting accounts still required in Nevada

Gaming regulators still require new Nevada sports betting app accounts to be set up in person at a retail sportsbook inside of a casino. This is not the case in most states around the country.

The newest sports betting app technology is made for online sportsbooks that don’t have this requirement. In addition to enforcing in-person account registration, Nevada doesn’t allow online casinos.

This can be a problem for customers of numerous sportsbook operators, like DraftKings and FanDuel, that aren’t part of a casino corporation.

From Nevada casino operators’ viewpoint, they want all new customers to come into their casinos to possibly spend money eating, drinking and gambling beyond opening a sports betting account. And, frankly, Nevada casino sportsbooks are exquisite.

Nevada is a small state in population compared to New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Most sportsbooks probably see the cost of building new platforms just for use in Nevada as too expensive. The returns are just not there.

Nevada sports bettors generally lose less than in other states

Being saddled with old technology might not be all bad for Nevada sports bettors, though.

Nevada sportsbooks typically hold, or win, about 4% to 5% of all wagers placed. While that’s standard in Nevada, it’s low compared to many other states.

Sportsbooks in numerous states are trending toward holding 10% of all money wagered. That’s twice as much as Nevada. In means players are losing less money when betting on sports in Nevada compared to most other states.

When PASPA was first repealed, sports bettors around the country were concerned odds would be worse than they are in Nevada. That’s hasn’t been the case.

Odds are typically similar to Nevada. They might, however, be shaded to their local teams, as bettors tend to wager more on the home teams.

Smaller betting menus actually aid bettors in Nevada

As previously mentioned, one major difference between Nevada sports betting platforms and those in other states is the menu. The more wagering options available, however, allow sportsbooks to make wagering options that are more difficult to win.

This is where sportsbooks are looking to generate more money from bettors. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins recently talked about that.

“We’ve seen no decline in demand as we’ve increased the hold rate. The important thing is we’re not increasing it by making the odds any worse for customers. It’s just by pushing more parlay mix and things like that.”

While there are plenty of downsides to being left behind technologically, having a smaller menu might actually be a good thing for Nevada sports bettors. Less betting options mean less money loss for bettors.

And, separate betting platforms are not hurting sportsbook operators. In fact, Nevada sportsbook operators are profiting from greater exposure, which is helping increase how much money is wagered in Nevada.

Little has changed in Nevada five years after PASPA repeal

There’s both good and bad to being the forgotten state in the new online sports betting world. PASPA’s repeal has not made much of an impact on Nevada sports bettors.

Of course, this is a debate that could go on forever and in multiple directions.

Yes, Nevada sportsbooks, apps and regulators are behind the curve when it comes to online sports betting. But, that annoyance might also be keeping more money in bettors’ pockets.

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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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