Nevada Has Mixed Feelings About Latest Sports Betting Numbers

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Las Vegas Raiders fans cheer during the game between the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 02, 2022. Jeff Bottari/Getty Images/AFP .

There’s good news and bad news on the Nevada sports betting scene. The good news? Nevada saw its highest sports betting month in a year. The bad news? The state’s monthly handle fell from the top three.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) released the January totals. NGCB researchers say the state’s retail and online sports betting sites handled nearly $937 million in wagers in January. That number is 15.6% lower than last January but still accounts for the biggest month since then. Last year operators recorded an all-time high of $1.1 billion in monthly action.  

On the flip side, Nevada was up month-over-month. The state’s $936.5 million handle topped December’s $880.4 million. And Nevada’s sports betting handle in the first month of 2023 was the fifth highest in the last 56 months of wagering.

Nevada Drops Out of Top 3 Sports Betting States

Now back to the bad news. Nevada is no longer among the top three states in terms of the monthly handle. This represents a dramatic shift for the state that was formerly the only legal gambling location in the nation.

Nevada has been offering legal sports betting since 1949 and is often referred to as the “sports betting capital of the world.” Since 2018, federal law changes have prompted 36 states to join Nevada in legalizing bets, including New York, New Jersey, and the new kid on the block – Ohio – which all exceeded $1 billion in handle in the month of January.

Ohio’s numbers may have been somewhat inflated by the $320 million in promotions bettors took advantage of. January was the first time Ohioans had the chance to bet on sports legally. 

Future of Sports Betting in Nevada

UNLV researcher Brett Abarbanel is internationally known for her studies on gambling and is the executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI). She was recently asked (in an interview for what the future may hold for sports betting in The Silver State. She believes the popularity of sports betting will ebb and flow. When a state launches, there will be an uptick, but the popularity will level off. 

Nevada has always been a leader in the sports betting industry, and now some lawmakers want it to be a trailblazer. They hope to create a lottery and use part of the money generated by it to fund programs that treat mental illness.

Abarbanel says the state’s gambling experts have also been really good at sharing their knowledge. She says she even helps to run a wide variety of classes on sports betting and regulation through the International Center for Gaming Regulation. She credits the class’s popularity to the overwhelming desire of people who want to understand sports betting and how to do it right. 

Overall, sports betting in Nevada is still a popular pastime for both locals and tourists alike, and the state’s longstanding history with sports betting still makes it a leader in the industry.