Nevada Posts Third-Highest Sports Betting Handle Since PASPA Judgment

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A crazier March Madness catapulted Nevada sports betting handle to $641 million, the state’s third-highest monthly total in the post-PASPA era.

March total was also a 15.7% increase from February’s handle of $554 million and a 354.2% rise in the year-over-year comparison. In March 2020, the month pandemic-led closures began to take place, the Silver State’s handle shrunk to $141.1 million.

As the Nevada gaming industry gradually reopens now, March sports betting handle and revenue numbers showed significant improvement. Last month, Nevada sportsbooks saw $39.3 million in revenue, good for a 6.1% hold. The number represented a 23.6% increase from February’s $31.8 million and an unbelievable increase of 2604% in the year-over-year comparison. In March 2020, the Nevada sportsbook revenue was a mere $1.5 million.

Third-Largest Month for Nevada Sports Betting

March saw the third-largest single month handle for Nevada sports betting behind October 2020 with $659.2 million, and January 2021 with $646.7 million. It was also the fifth time the Silver State topped the $600 million mark for any single month.

Nevada’s March handle also placed it second behind New Jersey that reported $859.6 million for the same period. For now, Pennsylvania is the third-largest market for the month but it could change once Illinois- the third-largest market handle-wise in February- releases its numbers.

In addition, the latest Nevada sports betting numbers pushed US sports betting beyond the $50 billion mark since the PASPA annulment in May 2018. This cumulative national handle does not include data from New York, Montana, or various tribal betting operations.

Numbers by Sport

Of the $641 million total handle, more than $500 million or 80% was wagered on basketball alone, including both college and professional basketball.

While exact numbers for March Madness are not revealed, Nevada Gaming Control Board official Michael Lawton said he has been told the NCAA Tournament usually accounts for 70% of all basketball wager in March. It may lead us to the figure of $350 million that might have been wagered on the tournament at Nevada sportsbooks last month.

However, overall basketball handle represents a slight increase of 1.3% from March 2019’s $495 million wagered on the sport. March Madness event was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

The second-most wagered sport was the ‘other’ category with $69.1 million in handle. The category includes sports betting other than basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and parlay betting.

Hockey claimed the third spot with $58 million in handle, while Baseball drew $9.2 million worth of bets last month.

Mobile Handle Higher but Not Higher Enough

Nevada online sports betting handle was 60.1% of the total sports betting handle in March. With $385.1 million, mobile sports betting handle was up 21.7% from February’s $316.3 million, and 333.1% increase from the same period last month.

Nearly $256 million were wagered at Nevada’s retail sportsbooks, an impressive trend given the 50% capacity restriction during the month.

However, despite mobile sports betting trend leads in Nevada, it lags behind compared to other key markets like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which saw 91% and 92%, respectively.

Nevada and Illinois are the only two jurisdictions that require in-person registration. Though Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker had been suspending the requirement since last summer due to the pandemic, he reinstated the original law in April.

Other Important Numbers

Overall, the Silver State’s gaming activity returns with the gradual lifting of the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus. The March total gaming win was a whopping $1.07 billion compared to the same period last year which saw just $618.1 million.

Undoubtedly, Nevada sports betting last month was defined and shaped by basketball, thanks to Nevadans’ traditional love for college basketball.

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