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Return Of The King: Nevada Reclaims The Sports Gambling Throne

You come at the king, you best not miss.

Nevada took back its sports gambling crown just one month after having the handle dethroned by up-and-coming New Jersey back in May.

For the month of June, a total of $322 million was bet on sports at the sportsbooks located in Las Vegas and throughout the state, setting an all-time record for the month. However, Nevada’s overall winnings were down from last year’s record $20.2 million, falling to $16.6 million — a 5.15% take — for 2019.

New Jersey sportsbooks accepted $273 million in wagers, coming in nearly $50 million behind Nevada during the dog days of summer. NJ sports betting generated $9.7 million, which gave the Garden State a 3.6% win rate. 

June is notoriously a slow month for sportsbooks since only MLB are in-season while the NBA, NHL, and college baseball all enter their championship rounds and wrap up play before the end of the month, leaving bettors with very few options. 

Baseball wagers accounted for the vast majority of the handle at Nevada sportsbooks, taking in over $208 million, while $51 million was placed on the 2019 NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors. The Cavaliers-Warriors matchup in the 2018 NBA Finals only saw $32 million in wagers. 

Hockey, tennis, golf and the remaining active sports accounted for the remaining $60 million in wagers, generating $4.6 million for Nevada.

In less than a year after the repeal of PASPA, New Jersey managed to knock Nevada — who had monopolistic control of the sports gambling industry for decades — from the top spot, signaling to the rest of the United States that the country may have a new sportsbook capital.

During May 2019, New Jersey sportsbooks generated $15.5 million in revenue from its $318.9 million handle, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. That mark narrowly beat out Nevada’s $317.3 million sports betting handle and $11.6 million in profit.

Since launching sports betting in June 2018, NJ sportsbooks have accepted over $3 billion in wagers. Online and mobile sportsbooks continue to dominate the market with 83% of all wagers in the state coming from computers and mobile devices — an all-time high.

And while Nevada and New Jersey will likely continue to fight over the top spot during the upcoming NFL and college football seasons, a new state may eventually make this a three-horse race.

Pennsylvania launched legalized sports betting in November but began accepting wagers via mobile apps in May 2019. 

The Keystone State generated $46.3 million for the month of June, 40% of which came from mobile, which falls well short of the country’s two sports wagering giants.

Even though Pennsylvania has a lot of catching up to do, one can’t deny the possibility of the state surpassing Nevada and New Jersey due to it having way more professional and collegiate sports teams and a larger population (12.8 million people) than either of the nation’s sports handle leaders. 

And with more and more state lawmakers taking a closer look at legalizing sportsbooks in their jurisdictions, you can bet that the race to be on top of the sports gambling world is far from over.