It turned out to be a record May for Nevada. However, it was less than the $318.9 million in handle and $15.5 million in revenue NJ sports betting operators posted last month.
That means NJ sportsbooks took in more bets than Nevada operators in a month for the first time ever.
NJ sportsbooks celebrating
It was rather fitting that NJ won its first month just ahead of celebrating the one-year anniversary of the launch of legal sports betting in the state. The incredible growth of sports betting in the Garden State has had it knocking on the door for most of this first year.
But Nevada will still hold the annual sports betting crown for awhile.
Nevada posted over $5 billion in handle and a record $301,048,000 in revenue last year. We’re still waiting to confirm June’s first-half numbers in NJ. However, it does appear NJ sportsbooks will post around $3 billion in handle and approximately $200 million in revenue in year one.
Nevada still big-event king
Outside of a couple of billion dollars in handle and a hundred million in revenue, the big difference between the two surrounds the biggest betting events on the calendar.
So, it is rather telling that the first time NJ numbers were bigger than Nevada’s came in a month where there really wasn’t one.
In February 2019, Nevada sportsbooks saw Super Bowl handle numbers drop for the first time in a decade. However, they still took in nearly $146 million in Super Bowl bets this year. That’s close to four times the $35 million in handle NJ sportsbooks posted.
Nevada operators also posted revenue of approximately $10.8 million on the big game, while NJ sportsbooks lost $4.5 million.
Additionally, Nevada sportsbooks posted a record $522 million in March handle while the NCAA Tournament was in full swing. That included a record $437 million bet on basketball, which Nevada sportsbooks turned into more than $38 million in revenue.
In the meantime, NJ sportsbooks posted just over $100 million in March Madness handle and around $10 million in revenue. (There’s no breakdown between college and NBA betting in Nevada.)
Las Vegas: A sports betting destination
Clearly, Nevada’s edge lies in drawing big numbers to Las Vegas sportsbooks during major sporting events. It’s really no wonder. Las Vegas has been marketing itself as a destination for events like the Super Bowl for decades now.
Until Atlantic City finds a way to do the same, NJ sportsbooks may win the odd monthly battle, but may have a harder time winning the war. New Jersey’s advantage is the ease of signing up for and funding mobile apps, which is considerable more difficult in Nevada. (We’re also seeing that start to come to fruition in Pennsylvania sports betting, as online wagering is now live.)
Legal sports betting is now in nine states and headed to more. But no single state is eating enough to replace Nevada at the top of the food chain yet.
Congratulations to NJ for stealing the Silver State’s sports betting crown for one month. But Nevada should continue its reign as the king of all sports betting states. At least until NJ can manage that win a month with one of the country’s biggest betting events in it.