With apologies to Mark Twain, the reports about the death of sports betting in Nevada are greatly exaggerated.
We do these stories around the end of every month when Nevada releases its gaming figures from the previous month (so today’s report is on the April sports betting handle and win), and the reaction from “gambling Twitter” is always the same as people feel compelled to knock Nevada because it had been replaced by New Jersey and now New York for having the highest sports betting handle each month.
That’s certainly true, as I Tweeted earlier this morning from my @ViewFromVegas account that Nevada’s April handle fo $582.6 million ranked third behind New York and New Jersey (with a note that Illinois, which won’t release its April figures until early June, will likely replace Nevada at No. 3 as it outhandled the Silver State by nearly $90 million in March):
1. New York: $1.4 BILLION
2. New Jersey: $926.9 million
3. Nevada: $582.6 million
4. Pennsylvania: $572.8 million
5. Michigan: $396 million
But the main point I believe most people are missing is that the Nevada figure is an all-time record for the state in the month of April. People jump to the conclusion that all the competition is killing Nevada, but the sportsbooks here are taking in more bets than ever before. The fact is that all states that have legalized sports betting since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018 are booming and it’s just because of the huge population bases back East and in the Chicago area that have grown the market exponentially.
This is what we all should have seen coming, and it’s a good thing overall for the industry, but I guess it’s just the way of the world today where everyone has to knock everything on social media.
It’s really a case of a rising tide raises all ships. And it’s also reminiscent of past tales of doom and gloom for Nevada (and Las Vegas in particular) when Atlantic City legalized casino gambling in 1979 and tons of people said that no one would go to Vegas anymore, or when Native American casinos popped up all over the land and people said there was no reason for gamblers to go to Vegas anymore – but all those things did was create more customers for gambling everywhere and led to the further growth of Vegas.
There’s plenty of room for all of us and all the states (with even more coming soon) to continue growing the industry.
Back to the Nevada sports betting figures, the $582.6 million handle was an increase of 27.2 percent from the handle in April 2021, according to GCB senior economic analyst Michael Lawton. The books won $25.4 million from bettors during the month, though that was down 6.9 percent from last April. Lawton also reports that 72.9 percent of all sports wager were made on mobile devices (the new states are closer to 90 percent).
Basketball led the way with a win of $14.6 million for the sportsbooks, a whopping increase of 69.46 percent from April 2021. The GCB doesn’t break down the sports between college and pro, so that’s mostly NBA but also includes the NCAA men’s Final Four (April 2, with title game on April 4).
Baseball was a win of $7.1 million, down 49.45 percent from last April, with hockey only accounting for a win of $933,000, down 55.57 percent from last April. The “other” category of all sports besides the Big Four (such as golf, MMA, boxing, auto racing, etc.), did have a win of $6.85 million, a 39.2 percent increase.
The books reported a “loss” of $4.1 million on football, though that’s mostly from people cashing game tickets and futures from last college and pro football season and not from the USFL, though some could be from the NFL Draft on April 28-30.
We mostly concentrate on the race and sportsbooks here, but in case you’re interested, the Nevada casinos won $1.128 billion overall in April (up 8.6 percent from last April) to set an all-time April record for gaming win. It’s also the 14th straight month that the state has exceeded $1 billion in gaming win.