Nevada sportsbooks set October handle records but still topped by New Jersey

By Dave Tuley  ( senior reporter) 

Nevada sportsbooks’ October win of $42.4 million from bettors was down 11.49% from October 2019, but the state set several records for the month, according to figures released Tuesday morning by the Gaming Control Board.

The overall sports betting handle was $659.6 million in October, an increase of 21% from the previous monthly record of $614.5 million last October. The $441.2 million handle on football also set an all-time monthly record, as did the $376.9 million in mobile wagers (which accounted for 57.1% of the overall handle).

“The write amount is the highest total since the Board began breaking out mobile sports wagering from total sports write,” GCB senior analyst Michael Lawton told VSiN in an email.

Mobile wagering, which has been slow to take hold here in Nevada -- at least compared to other states that came into the legal landscape after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting -- is credited with helping handle figures moving upward despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, of course, everyone loves to bet football. The vast majority of the October profits came from football betting as the books won $32.6 million from bettors, an increase of 24.53% from October 2019. The “parlay card” category -- which is mostly football -- also showed a profit of $3.86 million. That was down 14.44% from October 2019, but the hold was a whopping 39.89%.

Baseball added another $5.18 million to the books’ coffers as the MLB season came to a close, though that was down 54.87% from last October.

The books “lost” $1.08 million on hockey and $189,000 on basketball, but those were mostly due to future bets and refunded wagers from the long seasons that ended Sept. 28 with the Stanley Cup Finals and Oct. 11 with the NBA Finals.

On the casino side, gaming win was down for the eighth straight month in Nevada. Casinos still won more than $822 million from gamblers in October, but that was down 19.5% from October 2019. Twenty One (aka “blackjack”) was down nearly 35%, roulette was down 34%, craps was down 13% and so on. That confirms the anecdotal evidence of the rare times I walk through casinos these days on the way to the sportsbook and I see tons of empty table games and the few blackjack players separated by plexiglass partitions. It’s surreal and a far cry from pre-pandemic activity.

For those interested, New Jersey again topped Nevada in sports betting handle and win for the month as its nearby population base seems to have pushed it past Nevada for good (though that could change if New York ever fully legalizes sports betting). New Jersey set a new national record for handle for the third straight month at $803 million, topping last month’s record $748.5 million by 65%. New Jersey’s win was $58.5 million, an increase of 26% from October 2019 with a hold of 7.2%.


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