Nevada December Sports Betting Handle Again Sees Decline

Nevada, hurt by capacity limits in its casinos, a downturn in tourism because of the coronavirus pandemic and no remote registration for sports betting, saw a 3.4% decline in total handle in December.

Nevada, hurt by capacity limits in its casinos, a downturn in tourism because of the coronavirus pandemic and no remote registration for sports betting, saw a 3.4% decline in total handle in December.

In December, Nevada sportsbooks saw $588.5 million wagered, which was about $20 million less than November’s $609.4 million, according to figures released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. It was up 3% from December 2019’s $571.1 million. The handle figure in Nevada includes both retail betting and online action.

It was the second straight month that Nevada showed a decline in the amount of sports wagers. For 2020, Nevada saw about $4.3 billion in total sports handle, well down from $5.3 billion in 2019.

The mobile sports betting handle was 59.8% of total handle in December at $352.2 million, up slightly — 2.4% — from November’s $343.9 million. States with no in-person registration requirement, like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado, saw more than 90% of their bets in December placed via mobile devices.Bettors in Nevada must register in person for mobile sports betting.

Nevada’s sports betting revenue for December was $40.6 million, down 34.4% from November’s $61.8 million, but up 11.7% from December 2019’s $36.3 million.

By sport in December, Nevada saw $372.1 million of bets placed on football and $176.6 million on basketball. For all of 2020, football handle was slightly up from 2019, from $1.87 billion to $1.92 billion. But pandemic-related stoppages affected basketball (especially minus the NCAA Tournament), which fell from $1.68 billion in handle in 2019 to $1.17 billion. The decline was worse in baseball ($1.12 billion to $519 million), which in 2020 had a 60-game regular season, 102 games fewer than normal.

Nevada's December total gaming win was $683.7 million, which was down considerably from the $1.06 billion in December 2019.

In-Person Registration Keeps Nevada Mobile Down

The in-person registration issue continues to hurt Nevada. While nearly 60% of bets were placed on mobile in Nevada in December, Colorado saw a whopping 98.6% of its bets placed on mobile, Pennsylvania had 97.6% on mobile and New Jersey saw more than 92%.

Casino Limits, Less Travel Hurt Las Vegas

The capacity limit of 25% in Las Vegas casinos because of the coronavirus pandemic was extended by the state into January, according to published reports. The limited capacity and the cancellation of concerts, shows and conventions had a big effect on tourists visiting the city.

Las Vegas had about 1.5 million tourists in November, down from the 1.9 million tourists in October. In November 2019, the city had 3.5 million, about 57% more than November 2020, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Through November, year over year, visitors were down almost 55%.

It is uncertain when the tourism industry will rebound given the rising coronavirus numbers nationwide. But some states are beginning to ease restrictions as the vaccine becomes available.

Trailing New Jersey by a Wide Margin

Nevada's sports betting handle in December was was high enough to put it second behind New Jersey. But Nevada trailed the Garden State by more than $400 million. New Jersey nearly had $1 billion in wagers ($996.3 million, a national record) in December. Nevada has not beaten New Jersey in sports betting handle for any month since December 2019 and doesn't look likely to do so anytime soon.

Pennsylvania reported a total handle of $548.6 million for December, about $40 million behind Nevada. Illinois, which just reported its November figures ($451 million in handle) on Wednesday, could see an increase in December with remote registration in place.

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