Nevada Sports Betting Crash Shows Pitfalls Of In-Person Registration Rule

Posted on July 29, 2020

We finally know just how little sports betting handle was captured over the second quarter in Nevada. And it’s a steep drop from last year.

From April through June, Nevada sports betting handle totaled just $134.4 million. Revenue was just $2.2 million as books were hammered by football payouts once sportsbooks reopened in June.

That total includes $78.2 million in handle for June, meaning just $56.3 million in handle was split between April and May.

Overall, handle for the second quarter fell 86.1% compared to the $967.6 million bet last year.

Nevada sports betting lagged behind NJ, PA

The $134.4 million bet over three months is far lower than Nevada’s main sports betting competitors, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Sports betting in New Jersey accounted for $337.4 million in handle over the second quarter, $165 million of which came in June alone. Pennsylvania sportsbooks took $212.5 million in bets over the period with $89 million in handle last month.

The comparisons, of course, aren’t exactly apples to apples. Not all of Nevada’s sportsbook operators continued to accept bets online during the closure. And since Nevada requires in-person registration, most potential bettors couldn’t create a new account with casinos shuttered.

Rebound began in June

Last month marked the beginning of Nevada’s rebound, though it was a quiet month by Silver State standards.

June’s $78.2 million in handle was mostly bet on sports other than baseball, basketball, football and hockey. The “other” category had $61.6 million in handle, or 78.9% of June’s total.

That should change beginning with July‘s results. July includes more than a week worth of regular season MLB games and eight NBA games, which should help bring bettors back.

NHL regular-season games return in August, but it’s September that will truly test the market. Depending on bettor appetite, those three sports combined with NFL betting could set a new handle record. Nevada hit an all-time high of $614.1 million last November.

NV sportsbooks improved mobile share

Even with casinos opening back up, it’s clear that most sports bettors wanted to stay home.

Mobile sports betting handle was $61.7 million in June, or 79% of total handle for the month. That’s up significantly from the 45% recorded in February, the last full month casinos could be open before the pandemic.

That figure grew to 63% in March as Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos to close by March 18.

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Matthew Waters

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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