Nevada Handle Drops 76% Without Major Sports
Legal Sports Report

Nevada Sports Betting Revenue And Handle Plummet In March

Nevada sports betting March 2020

Sports betting handle fell 76% in Nevada last month as all major sports shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Handle hit $141.1 million in March, a far cry from last year’s $596.8 million. Last year’s mark had been the state’s best month ever until it broke $600 million in handle for the first time in November.

Of all the events missing, the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament clearly had the biggest impact. Basketball accounted for $495 million of the state’s handle last year, with betting on March Madness a big chunk of that.

Revenue was a paltry $1.5 million as nearly all the state’s winnings were offset by bettors cashing in football tickets.

Mobile Nevada sports betting handle share skyrockets

Unsurprisingly, Nevada sports betting reported its best mobile handle market share since the state started to break the numbers out in January.

Mobile accounted for 63% of all handle in March. That was no doubt impacted by Gov. Steve Sisolak ordering all casinos to close by March 18.

Not that bettors had much to wager on once sports started shutting down a week earlier. All that really remained were fringe sports like darts, table tennis and sumo wrestling.

‘Other’ category takes second place

Basketball ranked as the top sport in terms of sports betting handle last month with $104.7 million in bets. The NBA was the first major US league to shut down operations on March 11.

But second place wasn’t hockey or baseball, which would have seen handle spike toward the end of the month because of the MLB‘s opening day. That was awarded to the category of “other,” which is where all those miscellaneous sports that continued to play fall.

“Other” accounted for $21.2 million in bets last month.

Gaming Commission helps with esports authorizations

The Nevada Gaming Commission started to authorize esports events about two weeks after sports started to shut down.

First came authorizations for betting on Counter-Strike. That’s led to various other video game approvals, including League of Legends, Overwatch and Call of Duty.

The regulator also allowed betting on the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, which involves professional NASCAR drivers racing on a simulation platform. New Jersey also authorized their books to take action.

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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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