Despite Casino Slide November a Record Sports Wagering Month for Nevada
- Sports wagering helped rescue NV in November amid state-ordered casino restriction
- Although handle was off during the month, win percentage set a record aided by parlays
- December forecasts a similar outcome with casinos at 25% onsite until mid-January
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Figures released this week by the Nevada Gaming Control Board showed Nevada casino gaming revenue of just under $771.2m in November, a disappointing 17.8% decline from November 2019 and approximately $50m below October 2020 numbers.
Countering those results, sportsbooks in the Silver State generated a cumulative handle of $609.5m for the month, which was down from October’s record handle of $659.2m. The good news was that although the handle dipped about $50 million, the win rate of 10.14% was the highest since posting an 11.28% win rate in August 2017.
By achieving that record win percentage, the result was a windfall of $61.8 million in gross gaming revenue for operators, the best month in the post-PASPA era. A time that began in May 2018 after the US Supreme Court reversed PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992) while legalizing sports betting on a state-by-state basis. The previous high GGR of $56.3 million was established in September 2018. November’s results also reflected an increase of 45.8% from October’s revenue total of nearly $42.4 million and nearly doubled the $31 million generated in November 2019 on $614 million in bets placed.
Tough Times for Nevada Casinos
November’s dip in casino revenue came as no surprise when Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued an order during the month to limit onsite capacity to 25%. This followed an already state-mandated order limiting all casino attendance at 50%. The current order will remain in effect until at least January 15.
Although downtown Las Vegas was directly impacted including its newest destination The Circa Resort and Casino, the Las Vegas Strip was the most hard-hit. November gaming revenue plummeted to a low of $349.8m, one-third of its usual average. Conversely, downtown managed to keep afloat, boosted by the Circa to gain 1.7% at $53m.
Sports Wagering the November Hero
Both National Football League and NCAA college football being in full force helped Nevada’s record win for November. Overall, football contributed $502 million of the total $609.6 overall handle to set another record. That number increased a giant 148.92% from last November, while the win was also boosted by sportsbooks holding 11.16% of football wagers. Normally, sportsbook operators forecast a hold of approximately 5-6% per month.
Part of the reason for the total was the November calendar included “five Sundays” for NFL. However, counterbalancing that was there was no NBA or NHL normally played during the month, making this achievement potentially more impressive.
A hint to bettors on how profitable “parlay cards” can be to each US state was reflected in Nevada’s November numbers. Also, how difficult they are to achieve bottom-line success in wagering sports.
Following an incredible 39.98%-win rate in October, the sportsbooks continued their power upon bettors with a 55.59%-win rate. That number was achieved on $10.2 wagered, proving how profitable these types of wagers these are for operators and how unprofitable they can often be for bettors.
Since September and the beginning of football season, sportsbooks in Nevada have collected an amazing $11.6 million based on only a $26.1 bet.
Comparing onsite and record online gaming figures for other states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania is negligible due to different state legislative rules. Also due to the comparative population and the high visitor percentage for a tourist, conference, and vacation aided state like Nevada.
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Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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