Nevada sports betting just had its second-best month in terms of overall revenues in the market’s 64-year history, casino bookmakers taking in $504.6 million in bets during October, second to only the $535 million that was wagered in November of 2014.
Data released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) on Monday showed that football unsurprisingly accounted for the largest share of bets, the NFL and college representing $397.8 million in total chits.
The first four games of the World Series between the eventual champions Kansas City Royals and New York Mets also performed well as nearly $60 million was wagered.
The beginning of the NBA and NCAA basketball seasons took in some $16 million, while a spattering of other sports including MMA, soccer, and golf represented around $5 million.
The $504.6 million gross number translated into a win of $33.6 million for the casinos, a hold of 6.7 percent and a 21.8 percent increase compared to October of 2014.
While the books are celebrating strong earnings, things aren’t quite as robust across the rest of the casino floor. Gaming revenue fell 2.9 percent in October, $887.6 million net proceeds being taken across the state.
On the Las Vegas Strip, revenues dove even further. Profits slipped more than five percent on the main drag to $494 million thanks largely to weaker-than-expected baccarat and roulette.
Despite the poor month, Nevada gaming is still flat over the last 12 months. Casinos garnered $11 billion between November 1, 2014 and October 31, 2015, a less than one percent change compared to the same period in 2013-2014.
Nevada ceased reporting income statistics for its remaining two Internet poker platforms last February. Today, the World Series of Poker/Delaware Lottery shared room is the only meaningful online destination as Real Gaming has gone dormant.
No other Internet gambling games are permitted in Nevada, but that might change should daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators opt to obtain interactive gaming licenses from the state’s Gaming Control Board.
Sadly for Nevadans looking to play contests on DraftKings or FanDuel instead of the legal moneyline and spreads currently offered by bookmakers, DFS is between a rock and a hard place in the Silver State.
The nationwide debate on the legality of daily fantasy boils down to determining whether the outcome of contests more heavily relies on skill than chance. If it does, DFS could be declared legal and free of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
“Unfortunately for DraftKings and FanDuel, this is a double-edged sword,” Forbes writer Jeffrey Dorfman said this week. “Potentially, they could prove their games are legal at the same time as they kill their business model.”
Dorfman argues that providing evidence that DFS is skill-based would also “serve to educate the general public how little chance they have of actually winning.”
It’s unclear if Nevada’s issuing of cease-and-desist orders to the two DFS leaders in October played a role in the month’s near record-setting sports betting figures.
What is clear is the fact that betting on sports, regardless of whether it’s classified as gambling or skill, is alive and well.