The Nevada legal sports betting scene ended 2020 in a bit of a slump, riding a two-month streak of sinking handles and questions about how the industry would climb out of its mini-funk. But the start of a new year cured all the worry coming out of the Silver State with the release of January’s 2021 handle. This despite continued COVID-related issues that have been decimating the crucial Nevada tourism sector and ultimately business on The Strip.
January, according to Nevada Gaming Control Board saw increases in Nevada’s overall sports betting handle, sportsbook revenues and even its antiquated mobile handle. It also saw the state hold off some of the competition that was threatening to overtake Nevada as the second-most successful sports betting state in the nation.
Nevada’s January Haul
January represented a nice bounce back in terms of sports betting handle for Nevada, after two straight months of declines. January’s total sports betting haul was $646.5 million, a 9.9% increase from December’s $588.5 million. It is the second-highest total reported by Nevada sportsbooks, only 2% off October’s $659 million record-handle and it is only the fourth time the state has managed to break the $600 million plateau.
Revenues for legal sports betting in Nevada also showed an impressive increase in January. Sportsbooks made $52.4 million in December for an 8.1% hold, a 29.1% spike from December’s $40.6 million. An estimated $3.5 million in tax revenue was siphoned from those profits to benefit state and local coffers, thanks to Nevada’s industry-friendly 6.75% tax rate.
Mobile betting is still lagging behind the rest of the nation, but internet betting did grow along with the handle and revenues in January. Betting apps contributed $363.8 million toward the state’s near-record handle, or 56.3%. That’s up 3.3% from December’s mobile haul.
Year-Over-Year Shows Steady Growth
Nevada, just like the rest of the country has seen some tangible year-over-year growth in their legal sports betting platform. Their January 2021 handle was up 28.7% from January 2020’s $502.3 million overall take.
Nevada’s mobile handle is up even more year-over-year. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, betting app contribution to Nevada’s overall handle climbed 47.9% over the same period last year when internet betting contributed just $245.8 million in January 2020.
Year-over-year revenues showed the biggest increase for sportsbooks in Nevada. In January 2020 Nevada books made $20.2 million, during a time when COVID hadn’t yet permeated every aspect of daily life. That $20.2 million is 159.9% less than was produced last month, while we were all in the midst of the global pandemic.
The Sports that Shaped January
We can’t talk about January sports betting totals in Nevada without mentioning the Super Bowl which produced more than its share of wagers. Nevada led the way in terms of betting totals for the NFL Championship game. Its sportsbooks produced an eye-opening $136.1 million in Super Bowl bets, much of which came into Nevada sportsbooks during the month of January.
Basketball dominated however in terms if betting dollars generated in the Silver State. $293.1 million was wagered on hoops in Nevada in January, followed by football with $288.3 million and “other” with $37.2 million. $23.8 million was bet on hockey during the month as well.
Maintaining the #2 Spot
Nevada was under serious threat for their #2 spot in the nation in terms of sports betting handles. The threat was more magnified by their underwhelming November and December numbers and a mobile betting platform that wasn’t producing at the clip of New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Illinois for that matter. But a $646.5 million total was enough to hold off Pennsylvania, which produced $615.3 million.
The Silver State’s total is still miles away from the #1 spot on the nation’s top “bet-friendly state” list. New Jersey has seized control of the honor and kept it in January thanks to their $958.7 million handle.
The State of the States
January’s handle increase in Nevada is certainly good news for the industry on the whole. It puts the national sports betting handle on target to reach the $4 billion mark for the first time, after $3.77 million was bet in the country in December.
We now look forward to participating states’ February numbers. With the NBA in full swing, March Madness build-up sucking up a ton of oxygen and with the most wagered on Super Bowl in sports betting history contributing to the 28-day period, both the handle and revenue figures out of Nevada and its competing legal sports betting states are expected to be near-or-at record levels once again.
If January was a precursor, February could be special.