Nevada Sportsbooks Combine To Unlock Billion-Dollar Handle Achievement

Written By Derek Helling on December 1, 2021

New Jersey can no longer claim exclusivity on one hallmark of gambling prowess. Nevada sports betting handle for October 2021 moved on from approaching 10 figures to firmly settling in that territory.

Bettors in NV that month placed more than $1.1 billion in wagers on sporting events, not only setting a new record for handle in a single month in the state but posting the second-highest monthly total in all US jurisdictions ever. While the total reinforces bettors’ love for football, it also shows that the market is as desirable as ever for brands trying to get in.

Nevada sports betting handle tops a billion

According to the latest report from the NV Gaming Control Board, October’s totals put the previous record to shame. That mark of $786.7 million was posted in September of this year, making it a short-lived standard.

While October’s $1.1 billion is a 40% uptick from that mark, it isn’t a new national high. The $1.3 billion figure from the same month in New Jersey still holds that distinction.

The year-over-year comparison in NV is another favorable way to look at October’s numbers, though. Compared to October 2020’s $659.2 million, this year’s iteration of October is up almost 70% – a staggering number.

As expected, a stark increase in wagering on college football and the NFL contributed to the new handle record. The calendar also had something to do with it, though.

Five weekends plus football equals new record

Weekends are usually a good time for sportsbooks. Weekends during the college football and NFL seasons are the ultimate. This year, October delivered five of those.

As a result, wagering on football was up over 52% in October as compared to September this year. Another notable figure was the share of mobile versus in-person betting from the month.

October’s report broke down handle along those lines for the first time, finally giving us a picture of what online vs. retail wagering in the state looks like. Despite the in-person registration requirement, online sportsbooks fared quite well.

Almost $703.8 million or just shy of 64% of dollars wagered came from bets placed on computers and mobile devices during the month. That’s a good demonstration of why current outsiders like DraftKings and FanDuel are trying to get into the market.

Even though online shares of handle are much higher in other jurisdictions like NJ, where upwards of 85% of bets are placed online on a regular basis, the amount of handle in NV still makes the state attractive. However, for sportsbooks’ interest, revenue is more intriguing than handle. October of this year left a little to be desired in that regard.

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Win? Not so much for NV books in October

While the billion-dollar handle is an eye-popping figure, the win rate for the month was anything but. In fact, bettors actually fared quite well.

Revenue for the books came to $48.3 million. That’s a drop of over 10% as compared to September. It also comes out to a hold percentage of just about 4.4%.

Because of the high amount of handle, though, 4.4% is a decent number. Actually, the win for October ranks sixth all-time in NV sports betting history.

If the handle stays anywhere close to October’s total in November, the books could post a much higher win total as the rate normalizes. Regardless, October 2021 will forever be the month when NV sportsbooks broke through the billion barrier.

Photo by Nick_Nick / Shutterstock
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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