Nevada Sports Wagering Handle, Revenue Hit 2022 Lows In August

It was a relatively tough month for sportsbook operators, due in part to a modest 3.9% hold rate
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August was another relatively good month for bettors in Nevada, but another light month for the house when it came to sports wagering action.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported on Thursday handle totaling $408.9 million for August, the lowest of any month not directly affected by the pandemic since the $287.8 million wagered in August 2019. Summertime is usually a slower period for sportsbooks, especially in Las Vegas, as baseball is the primary option for bettors before September sees a notable ramp-up with the start of football season.

The betting public limited the house to a 3.9% win rate, the ninth consecutive month operators failed to reach a 5% hold and the first time it was below 4% in back-to-back months since July and August of 2020. The $16.1 million in revenue, though, was only a decline of 0.9% compared to July’s $16.2 million and still 12% higher compared to the $14.3 million from the same month last year. It is also the first time outside the pandemic’s peak that sportsbooks failed to generate at least $20 million in revenue in back-to-back months since a four-month span covering May-August of 2019.

Though the state collected $1.1 million in taxes from sports wagering for the month, the journey toward becoming the fifth state to reach $100 million in post-PASPA tax revenue — New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois are the others — has been unexpectedly lengthy. Sportsbooks have failed to generate at least $2 million in taxes for five consecutive months, leaving Nevada now just shy of $98.2 million in total post-PASPA.

While year-over-year handle has climbed 25.2% to $5.2 billion, revenue has tailed off 11.4% to $225.7 million as the win rate is nearly two full percentage points lower at 4.3%.

Baseball and ‘the others’ account for the revenue

As expected, baseball wagering comprised the bulk of both handle and revenue across Nevada for August. The $270.2 million handle was down 6.8% compared to July, while the sport-specific win rate of 5% was 1.5 percentage points lower and contributed to a 30% decline in revenue to $13.4 million.

The catch-all “other” category, which includes golf, boxing, and mixed martial arts among others, had the highest win rate of those broken out by the NGCB at 6.3%. Those wagers generated $4.7 million in revenue from $73.8 million bet. Winning tickets were still being paid out in football, basketball, and hockey, as the combined losses totaled slightly more than $2 million from the $64.8 million handle spanning those sports.

If there is a silver lining for sportsbooks in the Silver State, it is that football handle — which did include Week 0 of the college football season — improved 17.3% to $50.4 million compared to August 2021.

Higher mobile handle percentage

Mobile handle for August totaled $293.3 million, 71.7% of the overall handle. It was the second time this year it exceeded 70% and the second-highest percentage in a month not significantly affected by the pandemic since the NGCB began providing the breakout in January 2020.

The mobile win rate, however, was a paltry 3.4%, as operators claimed slightly less than $10 million from online bets placed. It again extended the streak of the mobile hold failing to reach the industry standard of 7% in every month the state agency has furnished those specific numbers. It also has been below 5% in 12 of the last 13 months, with July’s 5.3% the exception.

The retail books regrouped some in August with a 5.3% hold, keeping $6.1 million of the $115.6 million bet in person. Nevada’s retail sportsbooks have collected more than half the year’s revenue at $115.8 million despite processing only 31% of the overall handle.

Photo: Shutterstock

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