June was a phenomenal month for Nevada sportsbooks, per state figures released Tuesday.
The books took $322.07 mm in bets last month, up 12.1% from the $287.41 mm in bets taken in June 2018. The handle last month was a Silver State record for the month of June, but that’s really of no surprise considering that sports betting continues to go more and more mainstream.
Over the 12 months prior to July 1, 2019, the 198 Nevada sports betting locations took $5.26 billion in bets. In the same period a year prior, the 192 books open then took $4.93 billion in wagers.
That translates to roughly 6.6% handle growth over the 12-month period of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
A total of $208.74 mm of the handle last month came from baseball, which was up 10.5% year-over-year compared to the $188.92 mm bet on baseball in June 2018.
The books took $51.41 mm in bets on the 2019 NBA finals, up from $32.6 mm (+57.7%) in 2018 (when the finals ended in a four-game sweep, with two fewer games played than in June 2019).
Despite the handle growth in June, the Nevada books won less money in a year-over-year comparison. The books retained $16.58 mm in winnings last month, down about 18% from $20.26 mm in June 2018.
Over the 12 months prior to July 1, 2019, the books won $306.67 mm, up 8.8% compared to the $281.83 mm a year prior. Despite revenue falling in some months, the winnings are continuing to grow.
When looking at a full year worth of bets, the winnings growth is outpacing the handle growth.
The win percentage grew from 5.71% to 5.83% in the aforementioned 12-month comparison. In calendar year 2018, the books held 6.01% of the bets in the form of revenue.
This begs the question: In what arena are the books figuring out how to beat gamblers more thoroughly?
Hold by sport
Over the most recent 12-month period, the books had the following win percentages:
- Football: 6.1%
- Basketball: 5.54%
- Baseball: 4.36%
- Other (hockey, golf, boxing, etc.): 6.35%
- Parlays: 32.56%
In the same 12-month period a year prior:
- Football: 5.06%
- Basketball: 6.9%
- Baseball: 3.42%
- Other (hockey, golf, boxing, etc.): 7.02%
- Parlays: 27.57%
The books have been doing slightly better against football and baseball gamblers, while basketball and “other” gamblers are doing better. The parlay win percentage is the most noticeable. That’s not surprising, as parlays are typically the worst bets in terms of expected value. Of course, massive parlay wins grab headlines in the sports media world, but by and large they’re bad bets relative to traditional wagers.
The Nevada record for calendar year parlay hold is 37.69%, set in 1994, according to historical sports betting data compiled by UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.
Parlays are great for the books, even though winnings can swing wildly. The books held only 17.28% of parlay bets in 2016, just off the record low set in 1992. Since the start of the historical sports betting data, the books have held less than 20% of the parlay handle on only two occasions.