US Sports Betting Update – Nevada Sportsbooks Break $1bn Barrier Again
Nevada’s sportsbooks ended 2021 with a flourish by taking more than $1 billion in wagers during December. It was the third consecutive month in which the Silver State’s sports betting handle smashed through the $1 billion barrier. Sportsbooks took $1,013,986,620, which was down slightly on November’s tally of $1.1 billion, but it represented a 72.5% year-on-year increase compared to December 2020.
The volume of wagers will be encouraging for Nevada operators, but they struggled to earn revenue during December. The hold was a paltry 1.6%, so revenue reached just $15.9 million, according to the latest report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. That was a sharp drop from the $71.9 million that they earned in November. It was therefore a strong month for bettors.
Sportsbooks normally make a fortune from parlays each month, but Nevada operators incurred a $1.9 million loss from parlays in December. They also lost $1.3 million on hockey and $600,000 on baseball. Football bettors did not fare quite so well, as the sportsbooks held 3.9% of the $477.1 million that was wagered on NFL and NCAAF games, which amounted to $16.9 million. They accepted $408.7 million in basketball bets, but they held a mere 0.7% for $2.9 million in revenue. Sportsbooks also incurred a slight loss from other sports. The standard hold is 6% to 7%, so it was a great month for sports bettors in Las Vegas and Reno.
A Record Year
December’s figures pushed the total Nevada sports betting handle for 2021 to a record $8.1 billion. The revenue for the full year was $445.1 million. Nevada charges operators a very modest 6.75% tax on revenue – compared to 51% in New York and a couple of other states – so it earned $30 million in taxes.
The wider Nevada gambling industry brought in a record $12.8 billion in gaming revenue during the year. Sports betting accounted for around 3.5% of that total. By contrast, slot machines brought in $9.6 billion. The industry was 11.6% up on 2019, the last full year of pre-pandemic trading, suggesting that it has made a swift recovery. “The reasons for the record level of gaming win recorded this calendar year began with the successful rollout of vaccines, which eliminated capacity restrictions on the gaming floor,” said Michael Lowton, senior research analyst at the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The Nevada gambling sector ended 2021 with 10 consecutive months in which revenue surpassed $1 billion. “This demand was being driven by healthy consumer savings as the result of stimulus payments and the sustained rebound of leisure travel,” added Lawton. “Additionally, the return of special events and entertainment continued to boost gaming win to record levels.”
New York Builds Momentum
Nevada finished 2021 as the second largest state for sports betting, behind only New Jersey. It is now set to be overtaken by New York, which legalized sports wagering earlier this month. Yet that development could hamper New Jersey’s performance, as the Garden State previously benefited from an influx of New Yorkers, meaning Nevada may yet remain in the top two in 2022.
New figures from the New York State Gaming Commission show that operators in the
Empire State handled $603 million in the first nine days of trading this month. Caesars Sportsbook, which offers New Yorkers an enormous $3,300 welcome bonus bundle – including a $300 no deposit offer – took an early lead, ahead of FanDuel, DraftKings and BetRivers. They were the only four sportsbooks to go live on the opening weekend, followed by BetMGM nine days later.
There are now six online sportsbooks in the state after PointsBet joined the party this week. “Launching in New York is a significant milestone for PointsBet, being one of nine approved online sports betting operators in the state,” said Johnny Aitken, chief executive of PointsBet, which offers sports spread betting along with traditional, fixed-odds wagering. “New York’s passionate sports fans and bettors will now have access to the fastest online sports betting product in the market, with a live, in-game betting experience that PointsBet controls through our proprietary technology and a world-class team that is unrivaled.”
Pennsylvania Also Set a New Record
Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks handled $750.4 million in December. It was the third month in which the total eclipsed $750 million and it pushed the annual handle to $6.5 billion. That fell short of New Jersey’s $10.9 billion and Nevada’s $8.1 billion, but it was still one of the largest states last year. Revenue for December was $38 million, nudging the annual total up to $348.5 million. FanDuel continues to reign supreme in the Keystone State, with a 36.5% market share, leaving it comfortably ahead of DraftKings, while BetMGM was a distant third.
Online casino revenue for Pennsylvania was $127.6 million. A new study from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board suggests that one in 10 adults in the Keystone State now places online wagers on a regular basis. The board teamed up with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs for the study, which is mandated as part of the bill that legalized iGaming in 2017. They commissioned Penn State University to survey 1,100 adults about their gambling habits.
Ten percent reported that they bet online, with sports wagering the most common choice. It suggests that more than 1 million adults in the state regularly bet on sports and casino games online. Two-thirds of online bettors in Pennsylvania are male, according to the survey, while the average age is 38. More than half have college degrees. They spend 5.8 hours per week gambling online and they each stake an average of $219 per week.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spends around $5 million per year on responsible gambling programs. “This report will assist DDAP in its mission to assess and address how gambling behaviors impact compulsive and problem gambling within the commonwealth,” said Secretary Jen Smith. “We want to ensure we are offering all the resources we can at the state level to anyone who may be experiencing problem gambling behaviors. “Knowing the current iGaming trends in the state will help DDAP make informed decisions and help to spread awareness that treatment and resources are available to help when this recreational hobby becomes a more serious problem.”