After sports bettors put down a record-breaking $158.6 million on Super Bowl LII between the 4.5-point underdog Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, we’re learning that the preceding 10 playoffs games did not generate quite as much action for the books as in January of the NFL season before.
But first: It was a pretty decent month for the books: According to monthly revenue report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, (NGCB) Nevada’s 191 licensed sportsbook locations saw $418.2 million in total wagers in January 2018 and won 6% for a profit of $25 million.
In January 2017, the books saw a $454.4 million handle but fared worse, winning just $7.95 million on a 1.75% hold. But overall that’s a dip of about $36 million on the handle, all of which can be attributed to football wagering.
Nevada Sportsbooks Win $25M on $418M January Handle, But Football Handle Down From ’17
Here’s the snapshot and we put in basketball (which includes NBA and NCAA hoops) and football (NFL and some college bowl games including the National Championship) comparison with with overall handle/hold figures:
- 2017 January overall handle: $454.4M
- 2017 January hold: $7.95M (1.75%)
- 2017 January football handle: $220M
- 2017 January basketball handle: $203.5M
- 2018 January handle: $418.2M
- 2018 January hold: $25M (6%)
- 2018 January football handle: $179.6M
- 2018 January basketball handle: $202M
For good measure, let’s throw in the January 2016 total sportsbook handle: $448.5 million.
“Handle was $418.2 million and the books had a great month [in January 2018] on the win side due to a much improved hold % this year in football compared to last year (4.35% vs. -3.81%)” said Michael Lawton, NGCB Senior Research Analyst, Tax and License Division, in an e-mail to SportsHandle on Wednesday. “During the playoffs in January, underdogs were very successful against the spread, covering in almost every game. This was the driver for the month.”
Now let’s return where we started: the Super Bowl was a record breaker. $158.6M wagered on Super Bowl LII broke the previous record from 2017 of $138.5M. Basketball betting held steady at almost the same figure. Keep in mind the January football slate is just 10 NFL games and six bowl games (the CFB Playoffs and a couple other games), but football betting was indeed down about $36 million.
To illustrate the absurdity of the @MLB, @NBA "integrity tax." In Jan, the leagues would have divvied $4.2M between them on Nevada sports wagers alone. That would pay for "integrity monitoring" that books/leagues already do. And all NV locations would have revenue cut to $20M.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) February 28, 2018
In sum, the dip on total and football handle isn’t what Nevada wanted to see after a 2017 a record $4.87 billion wagered and $248.8 million won. There may be myriad underlying factors; I need to think some more before speculating but I don’t think Patriots or Alabama fatigue is the answer.
Week 17 last year was on Jan 1st.
— Robert Walker (@robertusfsports) February 28, 2018
In any case, as ever, the mantra of late owner of the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders, Al Davis, applies: Just win, baby. And at 6%, the books did.