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Nevada Joins Exclusive $1B Sports Betting Handle Club

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Circa Resort Casino on October 27, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Circa Resort & Casino/AFP

The October numbers for participating jurisdictions within the U.S. legal sports betting industry keep trickling in and those figures continue to impress as they have all fall. In October, Nevada recorded the second-highest monthly sports betting handle ever for the entirety of the U.S. market.

Nevada was able to put its name back in the conversation of the most successful sports betting states again after October’s figures were released. The Silver State has been losing ground consistently to New Jersey, but was able to close the gap between the two just a tad. New Jersey reported a national record $1.3-billion October handle. Nevada just eclipsed the magical $1-billion monthly handle mark in October as well.

First the good

It wasn’t all that long ago that a $1-billion month for a state’s legal sports betting industry was unfathomable. Well, it has happened three times in two months with Nevada joining New Jersey, who eclipsed the mark twice.

Nevada is reporting a $1.1-billion legal sports betting handle for October, the second-highest handle ever reported by a state. Nevada’s activity in October was up an astounding 39.9% from September’s already impressive $786.5 million and enjoyed a year-over-year spike of 66.8% from the October 2020 sports betting take.

Now for some bad news … for sportsbooks

Bettors in the state of Nevada did well in October and held the house to a very low 4.4%-win rate. Despite the record handle, sportsbook revenues actually dropped 10.9% from $54.2 million in September to $48.3 million in October. That number, while disappointing, was still a 14% improvement versus last year’s October handle of $42.4 million.

A total $3.3 million in taxes was contributed to Nevada state and local coffers from the sportsbook profits.

Drivers of the handle

The Nevada mobile sports betting scene saw a huge uptick in activity in October – a welcome sign for the previously underwhelming numbers for the state’s mobile industry. Mobile apps were responsible for 63.9% of the overall handle, which is a decent number for Nevada’s improving internet-based betting scene. Roughly $704.8 million of the $1.1-billion total handle came from the state’s wagering apps, which is up 42.1% from September.

To nobody’s surprise, football was the dominant sport bet on in October, as $729.3 million of the overall $1.1-billion take came from pigskin action, a huge spike from the $477.7 million in NFL bets from October. The start of basketball season resulted in $111 million in bets taken in (third-best among sports), an 1,100% month-over-month increase. The NHL saw a 3,800% month-to-month spike in bets, taking in $42.9 million in wagers in October.

Baseball was the second-most bet on sport in Nevada during October, buoyed by the World Series. A total $121.7 million in bets came in on MLB in its final month of play during 2021.

Moving forward

New Jersey has and likely will continue to steal a lot of the spotlight when it comes to state domination in the U.S. legal sports betting scene. But Nevada continues to hold its own.

Nevada, with October’s numbers, has surpassed the $6-billion handle mark this year and sportsbook profits stand at $357.2 million (the most ever) with two heavy-hitting months left to go in the year. There should be little debate over who belongs with New Jersey in the elite class of sports-betting jurisdictions.

With college basketball starting in November, Nevada’s sports betting scene will only grow stronger. While October’s sports betting spike was somewhat unforeseen, analysts likely won’t get caught off guard again.

Nevada is emerging as a threat to New Jersey. Who knows? When New York finally gets its mobile platform in place, Nevada could close the gap on New Jersey even further. Stay tuned.