Nevada’s sports betting figures grew in February, but will likely drop next month thanks to the coronavirus pandemic
According to figures from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), bettors wagered $489.1m at Nevada sportsbooks in February.
February’s handle marks a 6.7% year-on-year increase on the $458.6m wagered this time last year. Sports betting revenue was also up in February, with sportsbooks holding on to $38.1m, a slight increase on the $35.8m generated last year.
Nevada has also started breaking down how much was wagered via mobile devices. According to the figures, mobile sports betting handle in February amounted to $218.7m, 45% of the state’s total betting handle. Sportsbooks managed to generate $9.9m through mobile sports betting in February.
Breaking down the figures
Basketball was the most popular sport to bet on with bettors wagering $260.7m on the sport, and sportsbooks holding onto $13.1m.
Although basketball was the most popular sport to bet on, football was the highest source of revenue for sportsbook, this was mainly due to the betting on the Super Bowl. A total of $152m was wagered on football, of which the sportsbooks held onto $15.2m.
Bettors wagered $33.2m on hockey games, generating $3.1m for sportsbooks in the Silver State. Sportsbooks made a loss of $218,000 on baseball betting after bettors wagered $1.3m on the sports.
Parlay cards accounted for $788,000 in revenue from $1.9m in wagers.
Coronavirus pandemic presents challenges for the market
While Nevada’s betting market had a strong month in February, this is likely to be last growth the state will see for several months, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevada’s governor Steve Sisolak ordered a 30-day closure of all casinos in the state in order to halt the spread of the virus. As Nevada’s market relies heavily upon land-based in-person wagering, this will surely be a blow to the market.
The closure of the state’s casinos coupled with several major sporting leagues around the globe cancelling events is sure to hurt Nevada’s betting market. In the US, the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, decided to postpone sporting events indefinitely after a player for the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The NCAA has also put March Madness on hold.
In the UK, the Jockey Club announced that the 2020 Randox Health Grand National Festival will not take place this year. The English Premier League (EPL), FA, EFL and WSL have also agreed to postpone all professional matches in England. Greyhound racing events will continue behind closed doors without an audience.
With a significantly smaller line up of sporting events to bet on sports betting operators will need to find new ways to weather the upcoming storm.
Could e-sports betting help?
While many major sporting events have been put on hold and the casinos have closed, there are still some opportunities that could prove beneficial for the market.
On Wednesday night, the Silver State’s regulatory body announced operators could now take wagers on an esports event. Now sportsbook across the state will be able to accept bets on the 11th season of the Counter-Strike – ESL Pro League.
Although esports betting is legal in Nevada, individual events must first be authorized by the NGCB.