Many people were concerned that Nevada would suffer significantly after the federal ban on sports betting was struck down by the US Supreme Court.
They thought that if people could place sports bets in their own states, they would no longer have as much interest in traveling to Las Vegas. However, if anything, the publicity that sports betting is getting in the mainstream media appears to have worked in favor of Nevada.
The state set a new record for the sports betting handle in a single month, reaching almost $600m (£464.5m) in March. Sportsbooks revenue for the month was over $32.5m (£25.2m). This was a profit level of 5.4%, which is close to another record.
The main reason for the record revenue was the NCAA basketball tournament, “March Madness.” This tournament for college basketball’s national championship always attracts many sports bettors.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s figures don’t show how much of the basketball wagering came from March Madness. It also includes betting on NBA games. However, most of the revenue undoubtedly came from March Madness bets.
The sportsbooks in the state always expect the first four days of the event to be their most popular period each year. Naturally, there are going to be even higher expectations next year after this record-breaking month.
In March 2018, the basketball handle was $437m (£338m), compared to almost $500m (£387m) this year. In March 2014, the basketball handle was just $324m (£251m).
Baseball revenue was up significantly to $3.5m (£2.7m), the horse racing bets were down almost 9% to $3.7m (£2.9m) and other types of sports betting increased by a massive 315% to $5.84m (£4.52m).
The single month handle record for sportsbooks was broken in March 2018 at $522m (£404m), up from $475m (£368m) in 2017.
Competition Is Not an Issue
Seven states other than Nevada have open sportsbooks and many more states will join this group in the near future. New Jersey has stood out as being the main challenger to Nevada’s sports betting crown.
New Jersey has recorded impressive numbers month on month since its sportsbooks opened. What’s more, over 80% of its intake comes through mobile sports betting. This portion is about 50%-70% in Nevada. Many people come from neighboring states to New Jersey regularly to place their sports bets on mobile devices.
For its first March Madness, New Jersey reported $106m (£82m) in bets and $10m (£7.7m) worth of revenues. Total bets for the month reached over $370m (£286m). During the Betting on Sports America conference, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy boldly claimed that the Garden State’s sports betting sector might “overtake [Nevada] as early as next year.”
New Jersey did surpass Nevada’s revenue for sports betting in January, with sportsbooks profits of $18.8m (£14.6m), compared to Nevada’s $14.6m (£11.3m).
March Madness most certainly is the largest event of the sports betting calendar, surpassing even the Super Bowl. New Jersey was hit hard by the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory.
Nevada Gaming Revenues Also Rise
Overall gaming revenue in Nevada went past the $1bn (£774,000) mark in March. That was the second consecutive month of $1bn despite the fact that casino gaming revenues dropped by 3.8% to less than $552m (£427m).
Slot machines saw a 5% rise to $675.3m (£522.8m) but table games fell by 8.75% to $347m (£269m). This was mainly due to baccarat revenue dropping by almost half. The other table games actually performed pretty well during the month.