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Nevada sports betting handle rose over last February but likely will tumble next month amid coronavirus-related casino closures.
The overall handle was $489.1 million in February, up 6.7% from last year’s $458.6 million. Revenue was $38.1 million, up 6.3% from last year.
Mobile share of Nevada sports betting handle slipped to 45% in February compared with 49% in January. January was the first month those numbers were officially released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
It’s likely to be the last growth the state’s sports betting industry will see for a few months given the sports postponements and cancellations from the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a 30-day closure of Nevada casinos to slow the spread of COVID-19, which will hurt a market still reliant upon in-person wagering.
March 2019’s handle was an all-time record of $596.8 million until November broke the $600 million mark.
March’s handle will likely be a fraction of last year’s total. The NBA and NHL only operated for about a third of the month before postponing their seasons while March Madness, one of the biggest betting events in the US, was canceled completely.
Basketball led the state in terms of handle with $260.7 million. Football placed second with $152 million wagered.
But football led the state in terms of revenue with $15.2 million compared with basketball’s $13.1 million. That’s partially due to the 12.1% win percentage on Super Bowl bets this year.
Hockey, which is broken out separately for the first time this year, remains a small part of Nevada’s sports betting scene. Total hockey handle was $33.2 million for February or just 6.8% of overall wagers for the month.
Nevada regulators formerly listed hockey among “other” sports such as golf and tennis.
Nevada’s gaming regulator potentially helped the state’s sports betting operators Wednesday night by authorizing betting on an esports event.
Sportsbooks around the state can take bets on the 11th season of the Counter-Strike – ESL Pro League. Esports betting is legal in Nevada, but individual events must be authorized by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Sportsbooks must let the regulator know they intend to take bets before booking them.