Nevada’s December Sports Betting Revenue Plummets Despite $1 Billion Handle

Las Vegas Sign And Strip Background With Money Piles

Nevada wrapped up a recording-breaking 2021 with a rocky finish in the month of December. Many of the state’s gaming industries metrics, such as GGR and betting handle, set new records monthly and yearly records in 2021. However, December’s sports betting revenue plummeted after an exceptional performance in November.

Sports betting handle in the Silver State totaled $1.015 billion in December. It marked the third consecutive mark that the handle has exceeded a billion dollars. Nevada is second only to New Jersey for the highest sports betting handle of any US state. Despite the success, the handle actually decreased over six percent from the previous month. A large part of the handle was made up of wagers from mobile bettors.

Total gaming revenue also remained steady. For the 10th month in a row total gaming revenue topped $1 billion. The sustained success throughout 2021 was good news for Nevada’s gaming industry as it battled back from the pandemic. Now, gaming operators will look to continue their success with a hot start in 2022.

One area that significantly decreased was sports betting revenue. In November, Nevada gaming sports betting operators generated nearly $72 million in sports betting revenue. Last month, that total fell all the way to under $16 million. In total, sports betting revenue decreased nearly 78% from November to December.

Nevada Sports Betting Handle Tops $1 Billion Again

Gaming operators in Nevada reached a combined sports betting handle of $1.1 billion in October of 2021. That mark would prove to be the highest sports betting handle of the year. However, operators did exceed one billion dollars in sports betting handle in both November and December.

Nevada’s sports betting handle in December 2021 was just over $1.01 billion, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). That total is down 6.5% from the $1.08 billion sports betting handle in November. However, December’s handle is still far and away better than it was at the same point the year before. Compared to December of 2020, the sports betting handle increased by 72.5%.

The majority of the sports betting handle appears to be generated from mobile betting platforms. According to the latest NGCB report, mobile betting accounted for $765 million of the handle. That works out to roughly 75.4% of the sports betting handle coming from mobile bettors. Unfortunately, the mobile betting handle also decreased from the previous month. In November, Nevada’s sportsbooks generated over $777 million in mobile betting handle.

Despite the slight decrease, mobile sportsbooks should still be optimistic about what 2022 will bring. So far, Nevada’s betting handle has been the second-largest of any US state. Even with New York legalizing mobile sports betting earlier this month, Nevada figures to be competing for one of the top spots. Nevada legislators approved remote registration options for certain types of gambling earlier this month. If regulators do the same for sports betting, it could provide a major boost to the betting handle.

Total Gaming Revenue Also Remains Steady

Nevada’s sports betting handle remained above the billion-dollar threshold, and so did its total gaming revenue. The Silver State pulled in a total of $1.15 billion in gaming revenue last month. That made December the 10th consecutive month of over $1 billion in monthly gaming revenue.

According to the NGCB report, over $650 million of the total gaming revenue was generated by the Las Vegas Strip. Clark County as a whole accounted for $998 million of the state’s total revenue. The total gaming revenue remained north of $1 billion, but it still decreased from the November total. In November, total gaming revenue was reportedly $1.32 billion.

Gaming revenue decreased from November, but it is still sky high when compared to December of 2020. Last month’s total was 68.23% higher than the previous year’s mark. The Las Vegas Strip experienced the biggest bounce-back of any market, with a total increase of over 120% from December 2020.

Why Did Sports Betting Revenue Fall Off?

Both total gaming revenue and sports betting handle experienced a slight drop-off in December. However, Nevada gaming operators pulled in over $1 billion dollars in both categories. Sports betting revenue on the other hand fell off dramatically from the November total.

According to the NGCB report, Nevada’s sportsbook brought in $15.96 million in sports betting revenue. That is a decrease of 77.8% from the $71.97 million generated in November. The difference in revenue is undeniable, but it may not be as dramatic as it appears.

November’s sports betting revenue was unusually high. The nearly $72 million generated was an increase of almost 50% from October. December’s decline in revenue can largely be attributed to a regression to the mean.

A regression to its average monthly total accounts for much the difference. However, even by its own standards, Nevada sportsbooks had a bad month against bettors. A month where the bettors won more often compared to a month when the sportsbooks were king creates a shocking difference. The December total was the lowest in Nevada since August before the NFL regular season kicked off.

Conclusion

A record-breaking 2021 by Nevada’s gaming industry wrapped up somewhat anticlimactically. Nevada’s sports betting handle and total gaming revenue each eclipsed $1 billion once again. However, both totals came in under the revenue totals from November. Nevada’s sports betting revenue was hit especially hard, decreasing over 75% from the previous month.

Nevada’s gaming regulators have taken proactive steps to improve their gaming numbers. Earlier this month they approved the use of remote registration for cashless gaming. The process does not extend to sports betting as of yet. However, if that changes in the future then sportsbooks could see a jump in players. Even with needing to register in person, sports betting operators have generated over $82 million in taxes for the state since June 2018.

Despite the bad month in sports betting revenue, Nevada’s sportsbooks should be set up for a strong performance in 2022. The billion-dollar totals for sports betting handle and total gaming revenue are second only to New Jersey. New York seems fit to compete with Nevada eventually, but it only has a handful of sportsbooks operating after its launch earlier this month.