Nevada sportsbooks set records for football handle, win in November


Nevada sportsbooks won $61.8 million from bettors in November from a total handle of $609.6 million, according to figures released Tuesday morning by the state’s Gaming Control Board.

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The win set Nevada’s all-time record for any month, though the overall handle was down 0.8% compared to November 2019. Of course, there was no basketball or hockey wagering during the month as the starts of the NBA and NHL regular seasons were pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bettors willingly turned their full attention to football as $502 million of the $609.6 overall handle was on football, setting another all-time record. Football handle increased a whopping 148.92% from last November and the win was also boosted by the books holding 11.16% of football bets (about double the normal hold of 5-6%).

“November had an extra Sunday which was a catalyst for football betting activity, in addition to the fact that not competing with hockey and basketball (which would typically both be playing in November) is also a contributing factor to the record football number in November,” Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the GCB, wrote in an email.

The official football figures don’t include the “parlay cards” category that the GCB lists as another line item (though it’s predominantly football parlay cards at this time of year). The books won another $5.65 million on those, an increase of 141.78% from November 2019 and an even more lopsided hold of 55.59%.

Mobile app customers fared a little better as the books held just 6.84% of those overall wagers, accounting for $23.5 million of the overall win. The mobile handle accounted for 56.5% of the overall handle.

That’s where Nevada’s overall handle has been bypassed by New Jersey, which does 90% of its business on mobile apps. New Jersey handled $931.6 million in November, setting the national all-time record for any state for the fourth straight month.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018, there was a lot of speculation that it would hurt the Nevada sportsbook industry to have its monopoly ended with legal books operating from coast to coast, especially in the much bigger metropolitan centers back East. However, we think these numbers show that while New Jersey is outhandling Nevada, the Silver State is still setting records and continuing to grow despite the competition (and in spite of being slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic).

As we’ve believed all along, the appetite for sports betting has been there and there’s plenty to go around for everyone.