Nevada Sports Wagering Handle Slips In February As 2023 Betting Continues To Lag

Super Bowl wasn't the bonanza the Silver State has come to expect
Nevada Sports Wagering Handle Slips

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported on Tuesday sports wagering handle totaling $659.4 million for February, showing both a month-over-month and year-over-year decline.

The amount of accepted bets was down 29.5% versus January’s handle of $935.8 million. In 2022, handle plunged 31.2% from January to February, though last year’s January handle of more than $1.1 billion remains the Silver State’s all-time high. The handle for February was down 13.8% compared to the same month last year.

Revenue also took a hit, landing at $41.3 million. Operators had a soft Super Bowl performance, claiming $5.5 million in revenue from the NFL’s championship game as the Kansas City Chiefs rallied past the Philadelphia Eagles. The revised Super Bowl revenue from the NGCB — it originally reported an unaudited total of $11.3 million — was the lowest for the house statewide since collecting a paltry $1.2 million in 2018 when the Eagles defeated the New England Patriots.

Revenue was down 18.2% from January’s total of $50.4 million but was a 36.3% increase compared to February 2022 as the house fared far better when it came to basketball wagering.

The state received $2.8 million worth of tax receipts for February.

Hoops provides a boost to the bottom line

Though football wagering gets most of the publicity for Nevada wagering due to NFL pick ’em contests, basketball was actually the largest generator of handle in 2022 at more than $2.8 billion. The public, though, fared quite well last year in limiting the house to a 4.3% win rate.

February, however, proved a little better for the house as the hold ticked higher to 5.6%, an increase of nearly 1.7 percentage points from January. Operators claimed $21.8 million in revenue from basketball wagers, the highest non-March monthly total since finishing $22.1 million ahead in January 2021.

Overall football revenue totaled $9.4 million from $153.9 million handle, equating to a hold of 6.1%. The $19.3 million month-over-month decline in revenue was smaller than the $25.5 million in 2022, when operators had another relatively soft February due to the Super Bowl.

Hockey was a surprising third for revenue by category with $5.2 million thanks to a robust 11.6% hold on $44.6 million in accepted wagers. It was just the third time hockey produced a double-digit hold since the NGCB began providing the sport breakout in 2020 and the first since a 14.5% hold last June.

The catch-all “other” category, which includes golf, tennis, soccer, boxing, MMA, and auto racing, among others, provided $4.8 million in revenue from $68.4 million handle.

Those daring enough to try parlays lost a lot more than they won — the win rate was an eye-popping 54.8%, though barely more than $1.1 million was wagered on such plays.

Brick-and-mortar books getting the job done

The mobile handle for February totaled $402.3 million, accounting for 61% of the overall handle — another decline compared to last year. Through the first two months of 2022, the $1.3 billion in online bets accounted for 69.3% of the total. In 2023, the $983.9 million represents 61.7% of the $1.6 billion wagered.

One thing that did not change was the public’s success via online wagering. It was the 22nd consecutive month the mobile win rate for the house was below 6%, with revenue from such bets totaling $16.6 million on a 4.1% hold. The retail win rate was more than double that at 9.6%, with in-person wagering providing $24.7 million in operator revenue.

It was the fifth time in the last six months the retail hold cleared 9%, and the percentage split for the $91.7 million in operator revenue through the first two months of 2023 is 63/37% retail. It was 54/46% last year, the closest split since the NGCB began providing mobile figures at the start of 2020.

Photo: Getty Images


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