It has been a long time coming for the Nevada legal sports betting scene. The granddaddy of all wagering jurisdictions in the US is proving its finally on the road to a post-COVID recovery with June handle figures released Thursday. The last 18 or so months has seen Nevada slip from top spot on the list of bet-friendly states, to second, to third, eventually bottoming out in fourth place just a few short months ago.
But the relaxation of COVID restrictions has had and incredibly positive affect on the overall sports betting scene in the Silver State. Tourism is returning to Las Vegas and Reno, casinos are filling up once again and pent-up demand is palpable despite a relatively small June sports betting menu. Post-COVID optimism has led Nevada back to a second-place position in the race to be America’s most successful betting jurisdiction. New Jersey still looks out of reach for the Silver State but a solid second still seems like a nice landing spot for the Nevada sports betting scene.
A Peek at the Figures
Nobody would have faulted the Nevada legal sports betting industry for having another down month or two. But an unexpected spike was revealed by Nevada regulators for the state’s sportsbooks in June. Nevada is reporting a $544.8 million handle for last month, a 14.2% jump from the $477.2 million sports betting handle from May.
Revenues saw an uptick as well, although not quite as dramatic as the handle. Profits for the Silver State’s sportsbooks came in at $29.8 million, a 7.8% increase from the $27.1 million in revenues reported in May. “Both win and volume are all-time records for the month of June,” Nevada Gaming Control Board senior economic analyst Michael Lawton said.
As for the most bet-on sports in Nevada for June, that distinction belonged to baseball which contributed $226.24 million toward the overall handle with basketball a close second with $193.95 million in bets, “Other” which provided $80.5 million, and hockey which contributed just over $44 million.
The Return of Retail
Nevada‘s mobile sports betting scene has been underwhelming to say the least, reporting between 50%-65% of the state’s overall handle at its peek. When Nevada’s overall sports betting handle is healthy, it is because the retail sector is performing. With COVID-19 restrictions eased in June, the crowds returned to Las Vegas and Reno and the handle benefitted.
In June, Nevada’s mobile apps contributed just 57.6% or about $314 million of the overall handle, which is a 5.5% increase from the $298 million the state’s apps took in during May. It’s a far cry from the 90% range that Heavyweights New Jersey and Pennsylvania consistently gain from their internet-based betting platform. June’s percentage is down from 62.4% in May and 64.8% in April, making it even more crucial for the return of retail.
Luckily for Nevada, that happened in June. Retail sportsbooks in the state reported a 31% increase in betting activity month-to-month – from $178 million in May to $231 million in June. That 50+ million jump is a welcome sign for the broader Nevada scene and a reason for optimism for the platform going forward.
Back in the Silver Medal Position
Nevada definitely had a tough time throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With the lack of a strong mobile betting scene, action for sportsbooks was almost cut in half, allowing other states to surpass Nevada for second on the list of bet-friendly states.
There were numerous months they were third on this list, and they even slipped to fourth – unthinkable 18 months ago. June’s numbers are nearly $125 million ahead of May’s second-place finisher Pennsylvania, proving just the notion that Nevada is a jurisdiction back on the rise.
Trying to Keep the Momentum
It has been a while since there was so much optimism in the Nevada legal sports betting scene. June was a crucial month and July, with just $6.6 million in profits could take the Silver State over the milestone $1 billion mark in revenue since the Supreme Court overturned the blanket sports betting ban in 2018. They will become the second state, behind New Jersey to accomplish that feat.
Trying to keep the momentum may be a tad tough though. Sure, the NFL season is just over two months away, but COVID is rearing its ugly head again and could once again have an impact on American society. The Nevada scene seems healthy going forward, but unfortunately, they are not out of the coronavirus woods just yet.