Football Wagering Down Significantly At Las Vegas Sportsbooks
WSOP
Legal Sports Report

Nevada Sports Betting Handle Takes A Big Dip In November

Nevada sportsbooks November 2016
Nevada sportsbooks have generally been on a record run throughout 2016 in terms of the amount of money flowing through their doors each month.

November, however, bucked that trend in a big way, with handle for that month hitting its lowest point since 2013.

The top-line look at Nevada sports betting numbers

Nevada sports betting edged just past $500 million in statewide handle. That’s a large number, to be sure, but it is far less than what the state’s sportsbooks took in the past two Novembers in bets:

  • 2016 handle: $500.4 million
  • 2015: $557.4 million
  • 2014: $535.5 million

Still, this is just the fifth time in state history that handle has exceeded half a billion dollars.

The hold for the sportsbooks was also down in November, coming in at $19.1 million. Last November, the books won more than $42 million.

That is the 40th straight time that the Nevada books have posted a profitable month.

Why the drop in November?

The trend for 2016 pointed to the idea that November would be the biggest month in Nevada sportsbook history. That was especially so after a record October. But that did not materialize.

Handle dropped significantly on football — the NFL and the NCAA — accounting for more than all of the drop in total handle. This year, books took $316.5 million in football wagers; last November that number eclipsed $395 million.

Why the drop? Here’s an explanation for some of it:

While NFL ratings have stopped their early-season swoon, fan interest in the NFL was also still flagging back in November. There was also one fewer Sunday in November of this year than the past two years.

Other sports and Nevada sports betting

Although handle for football was abysmal, the news was good for wagering on other sports. Basketball handle ($120 million) hit an all-time high.

The end of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians generated more than $18.5 million in wagers.

The pari-mutuel daily fantasy sports product USFantasy eclipsed $100,000 in total handle for the first time in its brief existence.

Looking ahead to December for sportsbooks

The books will hope November was a hiccup in terms of handle, and that those big bettors come back.

December is usually another big month in Nevada, with NFL, college bowl games and playoffs, NBA, NHL and NCAA hoops all going on at the same time.

The end of the year also features a UFC mixed martial arts card held in Las Vegas.

Image credit: Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.