Nevada sports betting handle eclipsed half a billion dollars for the third straight month for the first time ever, but there wasn’t reason to celebrate all on fronts for the state’s sportsbooks.
Nevada sports betting handle in November
November is one of the biggest months every year for sports betting, with the confluence of several sports at a time. And this past November was no exception.
Handle clocked in at $528 million, according to figures released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. That is the third straight month the half-a-billion mark has been crossed, after hitting it in both September and October. That had never happened previously in the history of sports wagering in the state.
It’s also the fourth straight November that has seen more than half a billion in handle. Last year, total handle clocked in at just over $500 million. But that comes after 2014 and 2015, which saw bigger handle numbers.
The books held just $9.8 million of the bets in November, one of the worst recent performances for revenue in the state. Most of that had to do with baseball betting, it appears.
Here is a look at the percentage of handle for each designation tracked by the NGCB:
A closer look at football betting
Betting on NFL and college football games ticked up from November of last year. But the overall trend hasn’t been great for betting handle on football in recent Novembers:
- 2014: $401 million (five weekends)
- 2015: $395 million (four weekends)
- 2016: $317 million (four weekends)
- 2017: $328 million (four weekends)
Betting on NFL has been down anecdotally, although the NGCB only offers figures for total football wagering:
1/ Nevada sportsbooks admitted November was terrible for NFL, but CFB softened overall blow overall in football. Per Nevada Gaming Control’s Mike Lawton. “Compared to last year, it wasn’t bad. Volume up, win up and so was hold. Last November was disaster for football.” @Covers
— Patrick Everson (@PatrickE_Vegas) December 28, 2017
Last year books held just $6.6 million of football wagers. Last month they held $10.9 million.
Baseball betting hurts the books
Baseball was not friendly to the books, which lost $11.5 million after the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game 7 of the World Series took place in November, and the books also paid out futures bets on the Astros to win the title.
More from ESPN on the baseball part of the equation. It was easily the worst month for Nevada books in the history of baseball wagering. Only once before had books lost more than $6 million on baseball in a single month.
Basketball betting continues to see growth
The good news comes from wagering on basketball. The $136 million in handle was the best ever in November, up from $120 million a year ago.
Just three years ago, handle for basketball came in at under $100 million every November.
The increased interest appears to coincide with an interest in the NBA games, which have seen ratings increase this year. Interest in daily fantasy basketball has also reached an all-time high this year at DraftKings and FanDuel.
What to watch for in December sports betting
Could handle on sports betting hit half a billion once again?
It’s never happened before in any December in the state. While December has five weekends of football, it also did last year. Total handle last year was $462 million.
With more growth in basketball and an uptick in betting on college bowl games, books could set another record for handle, but might come up short of a fourth month over $500 million.