Nevada March Sports Betting Sees Drop; Mobile Percentage Up

Nevada March Sports Betting Sees Drop; Mobile Percentage Up
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Nevada sports betting handle dropped 76% for March year over year as the sports world and casinos shut down in the middle of the month. The figures come at a time when Nevada is looking to reopen the state and its casinos.

In March, Nevada sportsbooks registered $141.108 million in total sports betting handle resulting in an extremely low $1.455 million in revenue, according to the state's monthly revenue report released Wednesday. In March 2019, Nevada had a sports betting handle of almost $600 million ($597.045 million) with $32.523 million in revenue.

RELATED: More on Nevada sports betting and gaming

There was one encouraging sign as Nevada saw 63% of the March wagers placed on mobile, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board report.

Nevada’s March sports betting handle was a 71% drop from a record February sports betting handle of $491.706 million. It was poised to eclipse that in March with the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments on tap, the NBA and NHL playing out the regular season and MLB getting set for an early March start. But beginning March 12, sports were shut down and Nevada casinos closed on March 18. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on April 1 extended his stay-at-home order at least until April 30.

Nevada Sports Betting March 2020 vs. March 2019

March 2020 March 2019Change
Total Handle$141.108M$597.045M-76.4%
Gross Revenue$1.455M$32.523M-95.5%

When Will Nevada Casinos Reopen?

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman made controversial remarks in an April 21 appearance on MSNBC, saying she wants casinos reopened.

"Assume everybody is a carrier. And then you start from an even slate,” Goodman said. “And tell the people what to do. And let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down. It’s that simple.”

Wynn Resorts Chief Executive Officer Matt Maddox has called for the reopening of the Las Vegas Strip in mid- to late May. Maddox said that Sisolak should reopen parts of the local economy in early May.

“Begin with reduced occupancy, physical distancing measures in place, temperature checks and no large gatherings,” Maddox wrote in an opinion piece in the Nevada Independent. “We all need to wear a mask.”

Wynn Resorts closed its U.S. properties — including the Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore Boston Harbor — in mid-March.

On Wednesday, Wynn Resorts and University Medical Center in Las Vegas announced a partnership that would allow employees of Wynn Las Vegas to have access to free coronavirus testing, according to a news release.

Some reopening measures discussed by other casinos, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, include limiting the capacity to help meet social-distancing guidelines, taking temperatures of guests and employees and wearing masks.

In his opinion piece, Maddox also wrote that Wynn’s health and safety guidelines for reopening would include allowing a maximum of four people to ride in an elevator at one time; and requiring guests to enter the resort through doors that are either propped open, are automated or manually operated by an employee.

Nevada Mobile Sports Betting Percentage Up

The Nevada total online betting handle in March was $88.928 million, down from February’s $218.7 million, according to figures reported by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. But the March figure is 63% of the market. In February, it was just 44% of the total action.

In Nevada, bettors must first register at a physical sportsbook, which was impossible for half of the month with the casinos closed. Other states like New Jersey and at Pennsylvania sportsbooks have seen about 90% of their wagers come from mobile

New Jersey sportsbooks reported $181.9 million in total March sports betting handle, a 63% drop, while Pennsylvania reported $131.3 million, down 60%.

Nevada vs. New Jersey

NevadaNew JerseyWinner
March 2020 Handle$141.108M$181.909MNJ by $40.8M
February 2020 Handle$491.706M$494.814MNJ by $3.1M
January 2020 Handle$502.279M$540.113MNJ by $37.8M
December 2019 Handle$571.088M$557.786MNV by $13.3M
November Handle$614.071M$562.676MNV by $51.4M
October Handle$543.921M$487.925MNV by $56M
September Handle$538.226M$445.563MNV by $92.7M
August Handle$243.337M$293.595MNJ by $50.3M

Basketball Led Way, Could Have Been Way Bigger

Bets made on basketball led the way in Nevada during the partial month of March. The basketball handle for the month was $104.7 million, about 74% of the month’s total despite the NBA and NCAA tournaments being postponed or canceled. Interestingly, the category of “other” sports had the second-highest betting total registered in March, not one of the major sports. “Other” was about 15% of the total wagered.

Help could be on the way. On April 14, the Nevada Gaming Control Board granted approval to offer wagers on these eSport events — 2020 Overwatch League, 2020 League of Legends European Championship and the 2020 ESL ONE-DOTA Los Angeles. Earlier in April the state approved wagering on the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Nevada is one of the few states to allow eSports betting.

ESports wagering could help April’s numbers.

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