Sportsbooks across Nevada in August recorded their lowest collective win rate during full wagering availability in more than two years, according to figures released by the state’s gaming control board on Thursday that showed a 2021 single-month low of $14.3 million in operator revenue.
The hold in the Silver State was 3.35% for August, the lowest in any month unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic since a 2.94% win rate in January 2019. August’s hold was 4.77 points lower than July (8.12%) and contributed to a 56.9% decline in month-over-month revenue from July’s total of nearly $33.3 million.
August’s revenue total is the lowest of the 13 months reported since the sports betting calendar returned to (relatively) normal after the worst of the pandemic. Not including the shuttering of casinos and limited wagering during the spring and summer of last year, last month’s operator revenue was the lowest since $10.5 million was collected in July 2019 — though the $235.7 million handle that month was barely more than half of the amount bet in August 2021.
The state received $968,153 in taxes, which marked the first time since July 2019 it did not add at least $1 million to its coffers from sports betting in a normal wagering month. It was enough, however, to make Nevada the third state along with New Jersey and Pennsylvania to clear $70 million in post-PASPA era tax receipts dating back to May 2018.
Nevada operators have collected nearly $254.7 million in revenue this year from close to $4.2 billion wagered, with the state holding onto $17.2 million in taxes.
So where were bettors winning?
Here’s a glance at the lowest single-month win rates in any state in 2021 so far (gross gaming revenue):
|3. West Virginia||3.57%||February|
|5. New Hampshire||4.39%||August|
|6. Rhode Island||4.56%||February|
|8. Rhode Island||4.70%||August|
People who visited the Las Vegas Strip and the rest of the state appeared to do well regardless of their choice of sport. Some also picked up winnings from basketball futures wagers, as sportsbooks paid out nearly $1.1 million more than the $14.9 million in basketball bets accepted for August.
In baseball, the pendulum swung back to the public, while the house set a handle record in the sport for the third consecutive month. More than $277.6 million was wagered in August, an increase of more than $50 million versus July, but revenue slipped 45.9% to $10.4 million on a 3.7% win rate after the house set a single-month record in July at $19 million.
The remaining bulk of operator revenue came from the catch-all “other” category, where more than $5.4 million was collected from $91.8 million wagered. It was the second straight month more than $90 million in handle was generated, with the 5.93% hold resulting in a 40.1% dip in revenue from July’s $9.1 million.
Sportsbooks on the Strip accepted nearly $80.6 million in baseball bets, accounting for nearly 58% of the $139.2 million overall handle. Operators there made more than $3.1 million in revenue from baseball and close to $1.5 million from wagers in the “other” category, where nearly $40.7 million was bet.
A high-water mark for mobile wagering percentage
Though the $296.5 million wagered online and via smartphone in August is not the highest monthly figure in terms of dollars, the 69.25% of overall handle represented the largest share — not counting significantly pandemic-affected months — since the Nevada Gaming Control Board began releasing those figures in January 2020.
In dollars, mobile handle spiked 22.5% compared to July’s total of $242 million, and the percentage of mobile handle to overall handle increased by more than 10 percentage points month over month. In-person registration for mobile wagering is still required in Nevada, where the more than $4.9 billion bet online has accounted for close to 59% of the $8.4 billion in overall handle since January 2020.
That in-person registration requirement has contributed to the Silver State now lagging nearly $1.2 billion behind New Jersey for the No. 1 spot in post-PASPA handle. The Garden State has outpaced Nevada in sports betting handle for 20 consecutive months (18 if you disregard April and May 2020, when the NGCB did not report figures) starting in January 2020, accepting nearly $12.2 billion in wagers in that span.
By comparison, 91.6% of New Jersey’s handle ($11.1 billion) in that 20-month span has come from online and smartphone wagering.