Nevada Reports $477 Million In Sports Betting Handle For May

Nevada sportsbooks reported $477 million in sports betting handle for May of 2021
Handle rose by 5 percent compared to April
Nevada’s sports betting handle for April and May combined were up over 40 percent compared to handle from April/May of 2019

While sports betting has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, the industry is showing signs of bouncing back. On Wednesday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board released sports betting handle numbers for May. The state hit $477.2 million in handle for the month, which was a 4.9 percent rise from the $454.7 million in handle that was reported in April.

While Nevada saw an increase in handle, that cannot be said for every state with a legal sports betting industry. Just seven of the 15 states or jurisdictions to have reported May’s handle numbers reported a month-to-month ascent from April to May. In addition to Nevada, the other states whose industries grew in May were Washington DC, Mississippi, Oregon, New Jersey, Indiana, and Colorado.

While handle grew, sports betting revenue actually declined in Nevada last month. The state reported $27.1 million in revenue, which was a hold of about 5.79 percent. $1.8 million in taxes for the state’s coffers were generated. Colorado saw a similar story, with a rise in handle but an overall dip in revenues.

The state is soon expected to surpass $1 billion in total revenue since the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May of 2018. Revenue is at $964.2 million since June of 2018, when other states gained the ability to open legalized sports betting industries of their own. Before PASPA was struck down, Nevada was the only state in the US in which it was fully legal to wager on sports.

Of course, judging the numbers from May of 2021 when compared to May of 2020 is difficult. The vast majority of the American sporting landscape was completely shut down last May as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Last year, Nevada sportsbooks reported a paltry handle of just over $56 million in April and May combined. All land-based sportsbooks were ordered to close as a result of the outbreak, as well.

The combined handle between April and May of 2021 shot up over $900 million. For perspective, Nevada sportsbooks reported a combined $645.5 million in handle between April and May of 2019 before the pandemic. So, handle has increased by a whopping 40 percent when compared to 2019, which is an absolutely massive increase.

Basketball, Baseball The Most Popular Bets

The NBA and NHL playoffs contributed heavily to the increased sports betting interest over the past couple of months. The same can be said of Nevada’s tourism industry, which is finally starting to get back to normal. More than 3.5 million travelers visited Las Vegas’ McCarron International Airport in May, which was up from about 2.9 million the month prior.

The increased tourism numbers are supported by the decline in mobile sports betting handle. Mobile bets accounted for 62.4 percent of the total number of wagers placed in Nevada in May. That was a slight dip from just over 65 percent in the month of April.

As mentioned, the NBA playoffs were a huge factor in the increased interest. Basketball was the most popular sport on which to bet in Nevada in May, generating over $181 million in handle for the month. Basketball was also the most profitable sport for sportsbooks, with $11.4 million in profits and a hold of 6.3 percent.

Baseball was a close second behind basketball with $176.8 million in bets placed. While sportsbooks dominated winning in basketball, bettors enjoyed more success on the diamond. Sportsbooks reported a hold of just 4.9 percent on baseball bets with just under $9 million in revenue.

Bettors wagered $52.3 million on hockey, with sportsbooks taking $2.3 million in profits. Bettors wagered a total of $64.7 million on “other” unnamed sports with $6.2 million in revenue for sportsbooks.