Nevada Super Bowl Handle Down 12 Percent, as Fewer People in Las Vegas for Big Game

Posted on: February 9, 2021, 12:19h. 

Last updated on: February 9, 2021, 01:30h.

Super Bowl LV betting handle in Nevada totaled $136.1 million for Sunday’s big game. That’s a 12 percent decline from last year’s game, or approximately $18.5 million fewer dollars wagered.

Super Bowl betting handle Nevada New Jersey
Tom Brady celebrates his seventh Super Bowl title on Sunday. The victory was a win for Nevada oddsmakers. Sportsbooks kept $12.6 million of bettors’ money. (Image: AP)

The steep regression in the number of dollars bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ shocking dismantling of the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 was no surprise. Las Vegas remains a shell of its pre-coronavirus self.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) reports that visitor volume plunged 64 percent in 2020. Numbers for January 2021 have not yet been released, but Las Vegas remains relatively barren.

If there was no COVID, we would’ve broken the all-time record,”  William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “It was all COVID-related. People love coming to the Super Bowl parties here in Nevada. COVID knocked it out. It’s that simple.”

Nevada’s 184 sportsbooks won $12.6 million on the $136.1 million wagered for a 9.2 percent hold. Though fewer dollars were bet on the big game, the 9.2 percent hold rate allowed oddsmakers to post their fourth-best Super Bowl result over the last decade.

“In Nevada, Super Bowl handle is driven by visitation and Las Vegas,” explained Michael Lawton, the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s senior research analyst. “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.”

Since the state began tracking Super Bowl betting outcomes, Nevada oddsmakers have lost to the public only twice (1995, 2008).

Nevada Defends Super Bowl Title

While the Bucs made easy work of the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, Nevada oddsmakers successfully kept their reign on betting on the big game. Despite a steep decline in betting action due to COVID-19, Nevada oddsmakers still took in more wagers than sportsbooks did in New Jersey.

Total betting on Super Bowl LV in New Jersey totaled $117.4 million. Oddsmakers kept $11.3 million on a 9.6 percent hold rate. The Garden State has emerged as the richest sports betting state in the US. Despite coming in second to Nevada, New Jersey oddsmakers aren’t complaining.

Super Bowl LV was a welcomed turnaround from 2020 when New Jersey books lost nearly $4.3 million on a $58.5 million bet. A negative hold of 7.8 percent led to the loss.

At this time last year, New Jersey had only 10 retail sportsbooks and 19 online operators. Today, the state has 12 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and 21 mobile betting applications.

Handle Should Have Been More Super

Legal sports betting is operational in 20 states, plus DC. The expanded sportsbook operations, and a surge in new bettors in the legal markets, led to technical failures in numerous states.

Leading sportsbook operators, including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Barstool, all reported outages on Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busiest sports betting days of the year in the United States.

Just minutes before the kickoff of Super Bowl LV, books were telling their users they were aware of glitches.