Nevada Sports Betting Handle Ticks Higher To $477.6M For May

Retail sportsbooks see handle rise as gamblers make their way back to Vegas and other spots
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The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported a sports betting handle of nearly $477.6 million for the month of May on Wednesday, a slight month-over-month increase from April as more people returned to the Silver State for wagering purposes.

The May handle represented a 4.3% increase from the $457.8 million reported in April. Revenue was nearly flat for May compared to the previous month, with the nearly $27.1 million just $160,000 off April’s total. There is no year-over-year comparison available because the Nevada Gaming Control Board did not release numbers for May 2020, which was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hold for May was 5.67%, continuing a trend of bettors doing well at Nevada sportsbooks. While the industry standard is 7%, the houses across Nevada have posted a 5.89% win rate over the last four months, collecting $125.5 million on more than $2.1 billion wagered. The state received more than $1.8 million in tax receipts for May and state coffers have accepted close to $8.5 million for the year to date.

Nevada also joined New Jersey as the only states to clear $15 billion in sports betting handle in the post-PASPA era, but the gap between the two continued to grow as the Garden State — powered by more accessible mobile wagering — is more than $570 million clear after accepting nearly $814.3 million in wagers in May.

It is also likely Nevada will finish third in national monthly handle for May, considering Illinois would have to report a drop in handle of approximately $60 million compared to April. The Silver State finished fourth in April — the first time it was not first or second in the post-PASPA era — as Pennsylvania placed third.

Mobile milestone, but also more retail wagering

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has only been releasing mobile wagering numbers since January 2020, but the nearly $297.9 million in handle via smartphones and computers pushed the total over $4 billion in 17 months. Sportsbooks had a win rate of just 4.46% on mobile wagers, generating close to $13.3 million in revenue.

The mobile handle was less than $1 million more compared to April, but the percentage of handle via mobile bets dipped from 64.9% in April to 62.37% in May. Retail sportsbooks generated $179.7 million in handle — an increase of 11.8% from April’s figure of $160.7 million.

Overall, online wagering has accounted for more than 57.8% of the $7 billion-plus in bets since those numbers were included in the monthly revenue reports. As a point of comparison, though, New Jersey has generated over $9.3 billion in online wagering alone in that same time period.

Hoops and hardball drive handle and revenue

Basketball and baseball were the primary attractions for sports bettors in Nevada, accounting for more than $358.2 million in handle. The house fared better against the public in basketball, generating more than $11.4 million in revenue compared to nearly $8.7 million in baseball.

The other area where the house did well was in the catch-all “other” category, which includes boxing and mixed martial arts among other sports. Sportsbooks posted a 9.65% win rate on those wagers, resulting in more than $6.2 million in revenue from more than $64.7 million wagered. Bettors did better than the overall win rate on hockey wagers, collecting more than $50 million in payouts on nearly $52.3 million in wagers as books had a 4.33% hold there.

Bettors are also still cashing out football tickets, as sportsbooks paid out nearly $1.6 million more in winning tickets than wagers accepted, resulting in a wildly skewed win rate of -89.4%.

Photo courtesy f11photo via Shutterstock

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