May was a good month for Nevada sports betting and poker despite traditional casinos still closed due to COVID-19. The combined sports betting and poker revenue increased 61% from April to May 2020, going from $3.6 million to $5.8 million. Specific betting details, such as hold rate and handle, were redacted for the second month in a row to preserve the confidentiality of specific operators.
"Due to the extremely limited amount of reported gaming revenue for the month of May 2020 and statutory limitations regarding the confidentiality of financial records, several portions of the Monthly Revenue Report have been redacted," said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). He also said that “The vast majority of the win amount was derived from mobile sports wagering and interactive poker,” adding that the increase in May was due to the addition of sports events, including NASCAR and UFC.
While Nevada did experience a month-on-month increase, it also experienced a year-on-year decrease of 99.4%.
Limited Mobile Betting
The May increase came as casinos were still on lockdown, and the biggest criticism leveled at the NGCB is the fact that mobile bettors need to first register in person before placing bets online. This prerequisite severely limited the number of people who could place bets on sports while the state was in lockdown. As people are still afraid to go out, removing this requirement would broaden the prospective audience for sports betting. Illinois, for example, temporarily lifted this requirement to allow people to place mobile bets without registering in person.
What Will July Look Like?
While casinos did open up in June, tourism is not what it used to be and the fear of COVID-19 still lingers. As of now, the NGCB has opened up over 100 cases of health safety violations, which include face coverings for employees, specific sanitization practices, and social distancing requirements. It’s unclear what will happen if more violations pile up, but it is reassuring that the NGCB is taking its inspections seriously.