Nevada sportsbooks held nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in wagers in 2017, the most revenue ever generated in the state from sports betting for a calendar year.
Nevada sports betting for 2017
The full-year numbers for Nevada sports betting were available after the Nevada Gaming Control Board released all gaming revenue figures for December on Wednesday.
Total revenue from sports wagering in 2017 — $248.8 million — was a new record. That eclipsed the $231.8 million the books held in 2015. The state’s books held about 5.1 percent of all wagers last year.
Revenue eclipsed $200 million for the first time in 2013, and the state hasn’t dropped below that number again:
- 2013: $202.8 million
- 2014: $227 million
- 2015: $231.8 million
- 2016: $219.2 million
The total amount wagered in the state came out to $4.87 billion, also a record. That easily beat last year’s handle figure of $4.51 billion. Handle has grown leaps and bounds in recent years; it has now been in excess of $4 billion for three straight years. In 2010, handle clocked in at $2.1 billion.
Where the growth is coming from in Nevada sports betting
Quite simply, the growth is coming from wagering on just about every sport.
“It’s nowhere but up across the board, everyone is setting all-time records for volume,” Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the NGCB, told Legal Sports Report.
Growth in wagering on both basketball (six percent year over year) and baseball (nine percent) outpaced growth in football (four percent).
But the biggest growth, interestingly, has been in the “other” category, which is not broken down by sport. At least some of that is attributable to big fights on the 2017 calendar, including the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
Some of it is also probably due to betting on the NHL and the Las Vegas Golden Knights, which are an expansion team playing in their first season. Anecdotally, sportsbooks have said they have seen an uptick in betting on hockey.
And for the fourth quarter of 2017 vs. 2016, handle in the “other” category is up about $21 million, according to Lawton. Although we don’t have a hard breakdown on where those bets were going, it seems to be a safe assumption that a lot of that increase is due to hockey betting.
Other factors in Nevada sports betting
What else can we attribute the growth to?
“The growth has been phenomenal, a lot of it’s attributable to personal device wagering, the ability to bet on sports through your phone, the fact that there’s a wide variety of wagers you can make on in-play wagering,” Lawton said. “There’s just such an awareness of sports betting, a lot of it’s being talked about on national TV constantly, the economy is doing a better. There’s just a lot of drivers that are the catalyst behind why we keep growing year after year.”
On mobile wagering, Nevada is reaching saturation. Nearly every major casino and sportsbook in Las Vegas now has a mobile sports betting app, so it’s at least feasible the growth will slow in the coming years.
December sports betting in Nevada
December was a good month revenue-wise for the books. They held about seven percent of all wagers in both basketball (NBA and college) and football (NFL and college). The latter accounted for $23 million of the total $34.5 million in revenue for the month.
Total handle also set a new record in December of $496 million. (Last December that figure was $462 million.) Nevada fell just short of its fourth straight month of handle in excess of half a billion dollars.
Basketball betting was a big driver of growth; the $159 million wagered was up about $18 million from last year. Wagering was also up on football in the month ($291 million) although the rate of growth was slower ($280 million in December of 2016).
Here’s the handle breakdown by sport for December: