Handle Topped Last Year's Record By A Fair Amount
Legal Sports Report

Nevada Sports Betting Still Reigns In First Full Year Of National Competition

Nevada sports betting

Another year, another record for Nevada sports betting handle as 2019’s total grew to $5.3 billion, up 6.2% from last year’s total.

It’s the 10th straight annual handle record set in the state and the second time handle eclipsed the $5 billion mark, according to historical figures from UNLV.

Revenue for the full year also hit a new record at $329.1 million, up 9.3% from last year’s record. That’s an implied hold of 6.2%.

December’s NV sports betting handle hit $571.1 million. Revenue was $36.3 million in December for an implied hold of 6.4%.

Nevada sports betting totals breakdown

Handle for all sports categories except for parlays rose year-over-year in 2019 while hold rose for all but basketball.

Football is still short of the $2 billion handle mark, coming in at $1.9 billion for the year. That number received a ding from Super Bowl betting that fell for only the second time in 10 years.

Basketball followed next with $1.7 billion in handle. Baseball ranked a distant third at $1.1 billion, while all other sports accounted for $594.8 million. Parlay handle was $50.1 million.

Last year’s 6.2% hold is the highest since 2007 when the state held 6.49%.

Last year to lead US sports betting?

It’s entirely possible this is the last year Nevada will lead US states in sports betting handle.

New Jersey sports betting finished 2019 with $4.6 billion in handle. That’s not too bad for a market that isn’t yet mature with significantly more mobile betting.

Online sports handle accounted for 83.7% of New Jersey’s total last year. There’s no exact breakdown for Nevada sports betting, but Gaming Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton assumes mobile market share rose last year from an estimated 48% in 2018.

Coming next month: Nevada mobile share

Nevada appears ready to match other jurisdictions throughout the country in reporting its mobile wagering share. Even though mobile Nevada sports betting began in 2010, the state’s regulator has never separated out how much came from mobile.

Thankfully, the guessing is about to stop as the Silver State matches up with the national trend. Lawton confirmed the state will break out mobile betting share every month moving forward.

That increasingly detailed reporting will provide a clearer picture of how Nevada compares to other states. The ballpark figure of nearly half suggests that the state’s onerous in-person registration and funding requirements continue to hamper mobile potential.

NV sports betting app technology also lags behind that which is available to the east. DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish recently cited the in-person sign-up mandate as a primary reason the company has not launched its app in Nevada.

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- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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