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Not so, it turns out.
Nevada sports betting handle last month grew more than 10 percent year-over-year to $458 million. That includes Super Bowl betting of $146 million on the big game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.
While Nevada bettors put up $12 million less on the Super Bowl than in 2018, handle for February easily outpaced last year’s $411 million. It’s another indication that despite the rapid ascent of New Jersey sports betting, Nevada maintains a strong position, especially for major events.
The win by the Philadelphia Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl took its toll on NV sports betting. Nevada sportsbooks held just less than $11 million on the Eagles’ surprise victory.
This year, Nevada sportsbooks avoided the pitfalls that tripped NJ sports betting revenue. Revenue of more than $35 million for the month, including nearly $11 million on the Super Bowl, equated to a 7.8 percent hold.
New Jersey sportsbooks bled more than $4.5 million on about $35 million in betting on the first Super Bowl with legal sports betting outside Nevada.
The wide gap between Nevada and NJ sports betting revenue at least partially illustrates the potential for regional bias in sports betting. East Coast bettors clearly hammered the Patriots, in some areas putting better than 80 percent of the money on New England.
March Madness betting likely will provide another picture of how different areas of the country treat legal sports wagering. Anecdotal reports in Nevada indicate a strong beginning to the college basketball tournament this year.
For a second consecutive month, basketball drove Nevada sports betting handle in February. Hoops handle crossed $250 million once again, accounting for more than half of wagers in the month. Books held nearly $20 million on the hardwood.
Football betting including the Super Bowl totaled more than $142 million in handle and $11 million in revenue. The 7.71 percent hold equals that of basketball for February.
Baseball betting that included both spring training games and futures added up to $1.2 million in handle and a loss of $267,000. Major League Baseball asked Nevada sportsbooks to remove spring training games this year. Silver State regulators turned down the ask.