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Nevada Sports Betting Recovering But…

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Nevada Sports Betting Recovering But…
Photo by Matthias Mullie

The granddaddy of the US legal sports betting states, Nevada bounced back from an expected coronavirus dip in the month of July but a peek at the bigger picture shows that their rebound is lagging behind other states with similar platforms. The coronavirus pandemic has certainly taken its toll on Nevada, which more than most legal sports betting Heavyweight states, depends on a robust retail market.

While the sports betting scene slowly creeps back to normality in Nevada, it has given analysts and regulators a chance to step back and analyze the state of the betting scene in Nevada. Questions around the way that Nevada continues to do business have been heavily scrutinized since other states started coming into the legal sports betting fold in 2018, and those questions have only grown louder the last five or so months.

First, Nevada’s July Figures

Nevada’s July sports betting handle came in at just over $163.5 million which represents a huge jump from the $78 million the platform took in the previous month. Revenues for July were reported to be in the $6 million range which is a significant improvement from the negative revenue stream for June.

Year-over-year, Nevada’s July figures are far off what they should be. In July, 2019, Nevada took in $235.6 million in bets, $70 million or 30% more than this past July. So, while far off the numbers Nevada should be experiencing at this time, at least they are headed up, toward respectability.

Where the Dollars Came From

The return of major sports action in North America obviously buoyed the betting numbers. Baseball saw nine full days that contributed $65 million, or $7.2 million per day to Nevada’s sports betting handle – a healthy number that showed the scope of the pent-up demand.

Basketball also returned in limited fashion in July. There were in fact only eight full games during July – they were responsible for $16.3 million in bets for the legal sports betting market in Nevada.

Almost weekly UFC action, an increased focus on golf action, and NASCAR contributed nearly half of the July handle with just over $80 million in bets taken in.

Now for the “but” Part

New Jersey’s July 2020 legal sports betting handle came in at $315.1 million, nearly double that of Nevada. New Jersey and Nevada have been locked in a battle the last two years for the honor of being called the most bet-friendly state in the US – numbers show that Nevada is falling behind.

The reason is simple when stepping back and looking at the numbers. It is perhaps the reason that Nevada is in danger of permanently losing its place at the top of the legal sports betting ladder. It’s mobile betting – period. In July, New Jersey mobile was responsible for $295.8 million or 93% of the $315 million overall handle.

Nevada’s mobile haul for July was $112.8 million, or about 69% of the bets taken in, That’s more than 2 1/2 times less than that of its main rival. Pennsylvania, another Nevada-rival reported a $164.8 million handle in July – 94.3% or $155.4 million came from mobile apps.

Translation – Nevada is seriously lagging behind other states with regards to their mobile betting platform and may continue to lose ground if something doesn’t change.

No Downloads Lead to Downgrade

The in-person sign-up rule for mobile betting in Nevada is antiquated to say the least and needs a serious overhaul going forward if Nevada hopes to stay in that elite class of legal sports betting states. William Hill, earlier on in the pandemic, even resorted to a drive-thru, COVID-friendly sign-up blitz to get more people into their platform.

“I think the biggest thing that Nevada can do better is move away from in-person registration for remote registration,” said Chris Altruda, sports betting industry analyst for NJOnlineGambling.com.

As long as Nevada bettors are prohibited from signing for sports betting up, funding their accounts and throwing down a wager from the comfort of their homes, Nevada will remain in the dark ages. Especially during this time of limited casino capacity and the all-too-familiar COVID precautions that are now ingrained in all of us.

On the Bright Side

August numbers should be out soon and they should reflect a huge bump in the sports betting numbers for Nevada. Casinos were partially opened in August and there was a full month of baseball, basketball, and hockey for bettors to wager on. The first season of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders is knocking on the door as well.

Nevada has still taken in over $9 billion in bets for 12 months ending August 1, a 24% year-over-year decline. That decline didn’t have to be as drastic as it was.

Nevada’s regulators have had a chance to digest, through the coronavirus crisis in the US, what their platform is sadly lacking. Hopes for the industry and the tax coffers that rely on a robust gambling platform is that those lawmakers make some changes and maybe adopt more of a mobile-centric philosophy going forward.

Simply put, it’s time for Nevada to jump into 2020!