Nevada Sports Betting Industry Posts First $1bn Month

The Las Vegas Strip and skyline in Las Vegas, Nevada. Saul Loeb/ AFP

The monthly sports betting handle in Nevada surged past the $1 billion mark for the first time in October.  Operators in the Silver State took $1.1 billion worth of wagers, with $729.3 million from pro football alone. It shattered the previous record in Nevada. 

New Jersey became the first state to break through the $1 billion barriers when it reported a handle of $1.3 billion for October. It means that Nevada has now posted the second-highest monthly handle in US sports betting history. 

A Record-Breaking Month All Round 

Almost every state with legal sports wagering has reported record betting volumes during October. Montana is the only exception, while we are still awaiting results from Arizona, Connecticut, and Illinois. 

The nationwide handle for the month has already gone past $6.1 billion, and it should surpass $7 billion when those states report their October trading figures. Nevada is currently in second place on a nationwide basis, ahead of Pennsylvania and Michigan. 

The sharp increase can be attributed to a calendar quirk, which led to five full weekends of NFL action in October, but it is also a sign of a maturing market. 

Bettors Performed Well in Nevada 

October was a reasonably strong month for sports bettors. Sportsbooks in Nevada held just 4.4% of wagers placed – revenue of $48.3 million – which is lower than the state’s standard hold rate. 

The hold on the “other sports category”, which includes tennis, soccer, golf, boxing, and MMA, was a mere 1.2% in October. Nevada sportsbooks only held 2.5% on hockey, 3.5% on baseball, and 4.1% on football, but they kept 7.1% of basketball bets. The hold on parlays was 37.3%. 

It capped a strong month for Nevada’s wider gaming industry, which pulled in more than $1 billion in gross gaming revenue for the eighth straight month. Trading is currently 3.5% ahead of 2019, and comfortably ahead of 2020. 

“Strong demand across markets, the continued rebound of leisure travel and the return of special events and entertainment continued to propel gaming win past 2019 levels,” said Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, in a press release. 

He added that mobile sports betting is growing in popularity among visitors to Las Vegas, leaving it less reliant on in-person bets at retail sportsbooks. 

Records Fall Across the Country 

Colorado and Virginia also hit the headlines this week after reporting record-breaking sports betting handle figures for October.  

Sportsbooks in Colorado handled $491.5 million last month, which was a 133.23% increase in October 2020. That leaves Colorado as the fifth-largest state for sports betting, ahead of Indiana, Virginia, and Tennessee, although it is all but certain to drop to sixth when Illinois issues its trading update for October. 

The NFL was by far the most popular league for bettors in Colorado during October. They wagered $171.2 million on pro football, which vastly exceeded the $63.3 million wagered on basketball and the $52 million wagered on NCAA football. 

Colorado’s October revenue was $28 million, which was also a record. Virginia sportsbooks took $427.3 million last month. That was 45.4% larger than September. It also means that Virginia has now seen more than $2 billion in wagers since the legal industry began, making it the 10th state to reach that mark. 

Gross revenue came in at $30.2 million in October. The number of operators in the state has risen to nine after PointsBet joined the party. They spent $15.8 million on promotion credits, and there were further deductions, so the state eventually earned around $1.75 million in taxes.