Sports betting handle in Nevada reached a record $5.3 billion in sports wagers in 2019.

  • Nevada’s sports gambling industry remains the largest in the United States.
  • Despite fears about competitive sports betting markets in other states, Nevada experienced record revenues.
  • New Jersey sports betting may surpass Nevada in 2020, but Nevada should still see continued growth.

LAS VEGAS – On February 1, 2020, the Nevada Gaming Control Board completed collecting statewide 2019 financial data on gambling operations. Despite the 2018 repeal of PASPA dissolving the state’s monopoly on sports betting, Nevada once again saw record betting action.

Nevada sportsbooks, both retail and online, handled $5.32 billion in wagers in 2019—the most of any state. Per the UNLV Center for Gaming Research, this figure represents a 6.15% increase over 2018, and the highest total the state has ever recorded.

Sportsbooks in the state earned $329 million in revenue from these wagers, for a hold percentage of 6.19%. This is the third-highest yearly hold percentage on record, surpassed only by 2006 (7.89%) and 2007 (6.49%).

With a 6.75% state tax rate on all sports gambling revenues, the Nevada government collected $22.2 million in taxes in 2019.

Interestingly, this figure is dwarfed by tax revenues in both New Jersey ($36.6 million) and Pennsylvania ($37.1 million), states with smaller sports betting industries but higher tax rates on gambling-related revenues.

Which Sports Took In The Most?

Once again, football was the most wagered-on sport, followed by basketball, then baseball. All three sports individually handled over $1 billion in betting action for the fourth consecutive year.

Basketball saw the largest year-over-year handle increase of the three sports, with an 11.6% increase over 2018. The total baseball handle increased by 9.2%, while the football handle increased by a more modest 3.1%.

The total volume of basketball bets has more than doubled since 2011, and on the current trajectory, it could surpass football as the most wagered-on sport in Nevada in the next several years.

September was once again the most profitable month for sportsbooks in Nevada, with $52.1 million in combined revenue. This was a slight decrease from the $56.3 million posted in September 2018, but still $4.2 million more than any other month of the year. This may be attributed to the start of football season.

2020 Outlook For Nevada Sports Betting

Nevada’s supremacy over the world of legal sports gambling in the United States remains intact even a full calendar year after PASPA’s repeal opened the door for other states to offer competing sportsbooks, but 2020 could see another state challenge that supremacy.

The next closest competitor, New Jersey, made massive strides in 2019 and could potentially surpass Nevada in total betting handle in 2020.

Still, Nevada’s continued year-over-year growth in spite of the Supreme Court’s decision is a positive sign that it will remain a dominant force in the industry for many years to come.

Over the last 10 years, Nevada has seen a median year-over-year handle increase of 6.99%. Last year’s increase is well in line with that average, and in-state sportsbooks appear to be as healthy as ever.

Assuming a similar rate of growth, the Nevada sports betting industry projects to handle roughly $5.65 billion in wagers in 2020 and earn $350 million in revenue while paying $23.6 million in taxes.

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