Sports Betting The Star In Latest Nevada Gaming Revenue Report

Remember back when the Supreme Court overturned PASPA and all kinds of media types who knew nothing about the gaming industry opined that this would be terrible for Nevada? Or, not so much….the latest revenue report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board shows that the Silver State’s gaming industry grew by over 4.3% during the month of August. The quarterly and yearly metrics also showed solid growth.

As far as the spread of legalized sports betting across the US being the death knell for Nevada bookmakers…again, not so much. The aforementioned revenue report shows a 48.72% monthly gain in what the Silver State bean counters euphemistically call ‘sports pool’. Granted, part of that gain is seasonal–as in, there’s not any college or pro football in July but August is when both start to get going. Even so, the revenue metrics for sports betting were strong across the board showing a quarterly increase of 23.98% and an annual increase of 21.21%.

The significance of football is clear when you take a look at the more detailed ‘sports pool’ data. Football betting of all types (Nevada doesn’t itemize the NFL, College Football, CFL, etc.) was up 102.48% in August and parlay card betting was up 207.86%. And check out the win percentage on parlay cards in the month of August: 70.97%! Now *that* is how they build all of the big buildings in the desert. Once again, the circle of life for sports betting has much to do with these percentages (and the quarterly parlay card win percentage of 66.98%). The annual parlay card win percentage of 32.96% is still pretty strong.

The strong performance of sports betting didn’t do anything to boost revenues at the race book. Race book parimutuel was down 5.93% in August, 10.33% quarterly and 8.45% annually. The majority of the problems of the Nevada race book is due to ‘circumstances beyond their control’ on the macro level of the horse racing industry.

A few other interesting takeaways from the revenue report–every sport category was up across the board except for basketball. Basketball betting revenue declined 9.23% year over year which is surprising. For the same 12 month period last year (9/1/2017 to 8/30/2018) basketball betting was up 24.65%. I’m going to do some longer term research and see if there’s any pattern or if this type of decline (or increase) is cyclical.

Finally, check out the increase of the ‘Other’ entry under sports betting. ‘Other’ was down in July and August but year over year was up 150.36%. ‘Other’ is basically anything that isn’t football, basketball, baseball or parlay cards so it could be more soccer betting, more tennis/golf betting, more hockey betting or some combination thereof. Worth noting that baseball betting also saw a 24.68% annual increase as well.

About the Author: Jim Murphy

For more than 25 years, Jim Murphy has written extensively on gambling theory and practice. Jim Murphy has been quoted in media from the Wall Street Journal to REASON Magazine. Murphy worked as a radio and podcasting host broadcasting to an international audience that depended on his expertise and advice.