Nevada and New Jersey provide two very different stories of how the Super Bowl went this year. One state reported their first drop in volume in several years, while the other more than doubled its volume, and the difference could have been having an online option.
You’d probably guess the state that didn’t fair as well is Nevada, and you’d be right. The state’s 184 sports books saw $136.1 million in wagers, their lowest volume since 2016’s $132.5 million. Based on Tampa Bay’s 31-9 win over Kansas City, the books did well enough, taking in $12.6 million in profit.
“If there was no COVID, we would’ve broke the all-time record,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “People love coming to the Super Bowl parties here in Nevada. COVID knocked it out. It’s that simple.”
NGCB senior research analyst Michael Lawton also blamed Covid restrictions for the drop:
“In Nevada, Super Bowl handle is driven by visitation, and Las Vegas, along with other areas across the state, are destination markets for customers to come and wager on the game,” he said. “Overall, considering the factors that Nevada sportsbooks were facing, these figures represent the fifth-highest total all time for Super Bowl betting volumes since Nevada began recording these figures in 1991. That being said, the board is very pleased with these results.”
Although one could theorize that Nevada was also hurt by increased competition, as legal sports betting spreads through the country, Bogdanovich disagreed. “It was all COVID-related,” he said. “It had nothing to do with the spread.”
The $136 million in volume beat New Jersey’s $117.4 million and Pennsylvania’s $53.6 million, but the difference is those two states saw impressive gains. New Jersey improved their volume by 116%, while PA was up 74%. In New Jersey’s case, they built that volume with 12 retail sports books, far less than Nevada’s 184, but also with 21 mobile apps.
NJ has the same types of casino and travel headaches facing Nevada, although they do have a lot more people within driving distance. But whereas Nevada is making excuses, New Jersey is celebrating, and online options had to be the difference:
It’s a sign of the times. While Nevada will never be a small fry when it comes to sports betting, it can expect to fall more and more behind as it remains stuck in its brick-and-mortar mindset.