Nevada Reveals Mobile Betting Numbers

Las Vegas Jan 2020 handle

Nevada’s January numbers came in last Friday from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and they revealed far more than in previous months.

Trending upwards was total sports betting handle, which reached $502 million in January. That’s 1.1% more than the corresponding month in 2019, but down from the $571.2 million wagered in December.

Sports betting revenue last month came in at $20.2 million, which represents a 36% year-on-year rise, but that figure was 44.5% lower than December 2019, with significant customer wins cited as the main reason.

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First mobile split revealed

And for the first time, the official figures broke out on mobile handle and revenue, which came in at $246 million (almost 50% of the total) and $11.2 million (55%) respectively.

Those percentage shares are revealing in that they lag far behind other states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where mobile betting accounts for nearly nine out of every $10 placed, but are on a par with states such as Rhode Island and Iowa.

It doesn’t require any amount of detective work to figure out the reason and regular visitors to our site won’t be surprised to learn that the requirement for in-person registration is to blame.

While bettors in the Garden State, for example, can create accounts and wager from anywhere inside state lines either online or via mobile in a few minutes, it’s not so simple in the Silver State.

Here bettors have to visit a retail sportsbook to complete the registration process and activate their account before placing a bet.

For many, that’s a hassle and the lines at sportsbooks, especially during major events like March Madness, can be overwhelming and prove a major deterrence from opening an account.

Call to revisit NV sports regulation rules

Some experts are calling on the state to reconsider its sports betting regulations to allow mobile registration, with Eilers & Krejcik Gaming analyst Chris Grove arguing that people will stay at home if betting is easier in their own states, rather than travel to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas needs to be able to offer a sports betting product that is equal to, if not better, than what they can do at home, he said. If the remote regulation stays in place, Las Vegas will have a materially worse sports betting experience than most of the rest of the U.S. If that’s the case, it’s going to be difficult for Las Vegas to capture all of the upside from sports betting being legalized across the rest of the U.S.

But not everyone agrees and some industry insiders believe the main driver behind in-person registration in Nevada is to keep people coming to the casinos, and they are not hard to find according to Tony Cabot, a UNLV professor and a former gaming attorney.

They want the customer to come into the casino at least once to effectively verify their identification. A get-to-know your customer sort thing, he said. The basic argument is, there are casinos everywhere. It’s not that big of a deal to go to a casino.

Joe Asher, U.S. CEO of sportsbook operator William Hill, believes that directly comparing sports betting practices in Nevada to New Jersey is wrong as the two states are fundamentally different.

Some people are an hour, two hours away from a casino in New Jersey, he said. The in-person sign-up requirement makes a lot of sense in Nevada. In New Jersey, it’s just not practical.

The current situation has certainly not stopped William Hill from growing its Nevada business year-on-year and it can now boast a 32% market share, with a reported 60% of its January handle being wagered via digital channels.

This looks set to grow further after the operator agreed to acquire the sportsbook assets of CG Technology, giving it access to some high-profile properties on the Strip, including the The Venetian and The Palazzo.

Betting numbers by sport

Breaking January’s figures down further reveals that basketball betting was the main source of income for sportsbooks, generating $12.5 million of revenue, a hold of 5.5%.

That was more than double the $5.8 million from football, which was 27% lower than December. Less games last month and a low hold of just 2.6% due to customers winning more help to explain that drop.

The January report also broke out hockey handle for the first time, revealing that bettors put down a total of $1.15 million in bets, reflecting local interest in the Vegas Golden Knights NHL franchise.

Casino revenue tops $1 billion

Nevada’s casinos started 2020 strongly with the Control Board’s figures showing $1.04 billion in statewide casino gaming revenue last month, a 5.5% year-on-year increase, albeit a gentle decrease from December’s $1.06 billion.

A strong rebound in baccarat revenue, which had dropped more than one-quarter in December, showed a 47% rise in January to $112.2 million, helping to push the state’s overall table counter and card games segment to $365.7 million.

Blackjack also registered a good month, reaching $112.2 million in revenue, up 47% from December, while craps declined by 2.8% to $33.7 million.

The state’s poker rooms were busy too with revenue shooting up by 20.1% to $11.6 million, while revenue from slots rose a more modest 2.2% to $675.5 million.

Come and follow us over on Twitter @Gamble_usa for more legal sports betting news across the US.

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