Football Keys Nevada’s Record $786.7M September Sports Betting Handle

Nevada September 2021 Revenue

Nevada all but assured the first $5 billion monthly sports betting handle of the post-PASPA era Wednesday when the state’s Gaming Control Board reported a record $786.7 million wagered in September.

The figure obliterated the Silver State’s previous high of $659.2 million set last October. It also ranked eighth nationally in the post-PASPA era, which started in May 2018, and ended the stranglehold New Jersey had for the top 10 all-time monthly handle totals.

September’s handle was an 83.7% improvement on August’s total of $428.1 million and represented a 36.8% year-over-year increase of the $575.1 million wagered in September 2020. For the year, Nevada is less than $55 million shy of $5 billion in handle.

The house did far better in September than August, posting a 6.89% win rate — more than double the year-low 3.35% from August. The better performance, coupled with the bursting handle, resulted in $54.2 million in revenue — the third-highest total recorded in state history and 11th-highest nationally post-PASPA. It was also the 10th time this year that a state with legalized sports wagering reached at least $50 million in revenue in a month.

Nevada’s state coffers received nearly $3.7 million in tax revenue, lifting the total for the year to close to $20.9 million. The Silver State, which did not report numbers for two months last year during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, collected almost $17.6 million in taxes from sports wagering in all of 2020.

Breaking down the September superlatives

Nevada’s record handle — which is the seventh all-time high among the 15 states (not including newcomers South Dakota and Wyoming) that have reported September numbers — is in part meeting the expectations that were created in April, when the NFL fully embraced sports wagering and made DraftKings, Caesars, and FanDuel official partners. The Nevada Gaming Control Board does not separate pro and college football handle, but the fact that the $477.7 million wagered on both exceeded August’s entire handle is eye-popping.

Though it fell short of the $501.8 million wagered last November, the heavy football handle also meant the house did not have to do all that well to post one of the best revenue hauls in state history. The hold on football wagers was 7.6%, not much above the industry standard of 7%, but still enough to create $36.3 million in operator profit that represented more than two-thirds of the overall revenue total.

Baseball also did its share of heavy lifting for the fourth straight month, with handle totaling $216.8 million and revenue nearly $12.2 million. While bettors and the public may be grousing about extra-inning rules and commissioner Rob Manfred, it did not stop them from putting bets down, as nearly $948.3 million was wagered from June through September.

The third-highest revenue source came from parlay wagering at just over $4 million. While parlays do not generate much action in Nevada, operators who took those bets did so happily, as the 56.34% win rate meant the house kept more than $14 for every $25 wagered.

That helped offset the $1.1 million loss operators took paying out winning NBA tickets last month, as basketball wagering generated just over $7 million. The catch-all “others” category showed $3 million in revenue from $76.3 million wagered, though both figures will likely rise with the third Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder fight that will be included in October’s report.

The $5 billion handle plateau

It is still difficult to wrap one’s head around a $5 billion monthly handle, considering there had not even been a $2 billion monthly handle until August 2020. The expansion of sports wagering on a state-by-state level — September’s handle will come from 23 states and the District of Columbia, compared to August 2020 having 17 plus the nation’s capital — as well as other factors, including the rise of single game parlays and professional sports leagues embracing legal betting, have created a wave of handle that ebbed in the summer and is now expected to rise for the remainder of the year.

The monthly records set prior to Nevada’s report — accomplished in New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, and D.C. — have contributed to September’s current cumulative $3.59 billion handle being more than $440 million ($447 million when adding South Dakota and Wyoming) ahead of the record $4.63 billion set in March.

State March 2021 Handle September 2021 Handle Increase/Decrease in Dollars +/- Percentage
Arkansas $5,947,426 $7,007,774 $1,060,348 17.83%
Delaware $6,666,115 $13,702,755 $7,036,640 105.56%
District of Columbia $15,275,215 $20,706,483 $5,431,268 35.56%
Indiana $316,717,762 $355,425,184 $38,707,422 12.22%
Iowa $161,439,561 $210,434,587 $48,995,026 30.35%
Michigan $383,681,892 $386,780,231 $3,098,339 0.81%
Mississippi $50,546,886 $54,835,753 $4,288,867 8.48%
Montana $4,093,444 $2,899,030 ($1,194,414) (29.18%)
Nevada $640,781,759 $786,705,370 $145,923,611 22.77%
New Hampshire $55,800,096 $68,123,241 $12,323,145 22.08%
New Jersey $859,617,961 $1,011,114,311 $151,496,350 17.62%
New York $16,529,015 $17,355,782 $826,767 5.00%
Oregon $24,054,960 $25,070,339 $1,015,379 4.22%
Pennsylvania $560,259,181 $578,760,746 $18,501,565 3.30%
West Virginia $42,751,230 $45,731,107 $2,979,877 6.97%
TOTALS $3,144,162,503 $3,584,652,693 $440,490,190 14.01%

Nevada is the sixth state among the usual top 10 handle generators to report, leaving Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee, and Virginia. The latter two are reporting September figures for the first time since their respective launches, the former two are already well-established, and all four have a common element to help reach the $5 billion mark: an NFL team that commands heavy attention and notable wagering.

Online bettors continue to perform better than retail

While Nevada still requires in-person registration to gain access to mobile apps for wagering, those who have done so around the Las Vegas Strip and Silver State clearly are impacting the bottom line of operators. Since the Gaming Control Board began breaking out mobile handle and revenue in January 2020, the win rate on mobile wagers has yet to hit the industry standard of 7% in any month.

That streak continued in September, with the hold a paltry 3.36% on $498.2 million worth of wagers, with operators collecting more than $16.7 million in revenue. It was the second consecutive month the mobile win rate was below 3.5% and the fifth time it was sub-5%. For the year, there has been more than $3 billion wagered via online and mobile apps, but the house has just a 4.64% win rate and has collected slightly more than $139.8 million.

The success the public has enjoyed in the mobile sphere has not carried over to the retail space. The 13% win rate operators posted in September was the best since a 14.41% hold last November and well above the 8.74% hold generated from in-person wagering in Nevada in 2021.

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY

Author: Wanda Peters