Nevada sportsbooks set June records for state handle, win a year after shutdown

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN handicapper) 

July 29, 2021 04:41 PM

What a difference a year makes.

In June 2020, Nevada’s brick-and-mortar casinos were allowed to re-open on June 4 after being shuttered for 2 1/2 months since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the state’s sportsbooks had remained open during the shutdown, taking bets on Korean baseball, Russian ping pong and whatever else they could find. When all the books reopened, business was still slow with no major sports playing (including MLB, the summer staple) but at least there was UFC and NASCAR.

Nevada sportsbooks took in only $78.2 million in bets that month and actually posted a loss of $483,000. That was mostly due to bettors returning to the casinos to cash older tickets, but it was the first loss for Nevada books since July 2013, snapping an 82-month winning streak.

Flash-forward to June 2021 and the books handled $545.2 million with a win of $29.2 million (hold of 5.35%), according to figures released Thursday morning by the state’s Gaming Control Board.

“Both win and volume are all-time records for the month of June,” Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst for the GCB, stated in an email to VSiN.

According to Lawton, handle was “up 597% vs. June 2020 and up 69.3% vs. [pre-pandemic] June 2019. He also said the sportsbooks’ win was “up -6,144% vs. June 2020 and up 76% vs. June 2019.” We guess it’s an accounting thing for an increase to have a negative number, so maybe just better to say the books won $29.7 million in June 2020 than they did in June 2019 when they “lost” that $483,000.

Lawton also pointed out that this is part of an overall positive comeback as sports handle is up 31.9% and the win is up 56.2% in the calendar year to date vs. the first six months of 2019. And it’s not just Nevada’s sportsbooks that are thriving as overall casino win for the 2nd quarter of 2020 (April, May and June) set a quarterly record of $3.462 billion to top the previous record of $3.266 billion in the 4th quarter of 2006, which was right before the Great Recession.

Back to the sportsbooks, basketball led the way with a win of $19.8 million thanks to the NBA playoffs (and a whopping hold of 10.22%) running through the month while the books won just $3.2 million on baseball from many more games (hold of just 1.41%). The books also won $3.1 million on hockey and $3.8 million in the “other” category of sports not included in the Big Four.

The increasing figures for Nevada come amidst the increase in competition as sports betting continues to spread across the country. New Jersey again led the way in June with a handle of $766.9 million. Nevada is still holding on to the No. 2 spot with Pennsylvania the closest competitor among states that have released their monthly figures (note: Illinois had $507.3 in sports betting handle in May to take the No. 2 spot from Nevada that month, so we’ll see if that happens again when Illinois’ numbers come out next week).


June Sports Betting Figures



1. New Jersey

$766.9 million

2. Nevada

$545.2 million

3. Pennsylvania

$420.2 million

4. Michigan

$259.5 million

5. Indiana

$246.3 million

6. Colorado

$229.8 million


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