Gamblers bet over $3.2 billion in Nevada sports books last year, making it the biggest sports betting year in the history of the state.
Prior to 2011, 2007 and 2010 were the biggest sports betting years in Nevada history when books handled $3.14 billion in sports bets. But last year volume grew 3% from 2010 making 2011 the biggest year in the state’s history. 2011′s total handle of $3.2 billion represented 62% growth from 1992 and 34% growth from 2002.
Football generated the most betting action as gamblers risked over $1.34 billion on college and pro games in 2011. That’s 41% of the state’s total sports betting volume for the year. Basketball generated the second most betting volume – 23% of the state’s total hande – as bettors risked $737M on college and professional basketball games. Baseball accounted for 17% of the state’s sports betting handle and horse racing was 11%. Parlays, which are reported separately, were 2% of Nevada’s total handle.
Nevada Gaming reports the remaining sports – golf, hockey, boxing, MMA and NASCAR – in a combined ‘other’ category. Combined, these ‘other’ sports represented just 5.5% of all the bets in Nevada sports books but this category did grow 13% over 2010 levels. That 13% growth rate ties these ‘other’ sports with football as the fastest growing segments for the year.
Meanwhile, only two sports experienced betting declines from 2010: horse racing and basketball. Horse betting volume shrank 5% from 2010 and is now down 35% from its peak betting volume in 2006. Basketball betting was 11% lower in 2011 than 2010; undoubtedly partially influenced by the NBA lockout. Interestingly, despite this decrease in total basketball betting volume, Nevada sports books made a record $48.8M in profits on basketball action as books’ win rate jumped to 6.62% for the year. As a result, Nevada books made more money on basketball than football for just the second time in 20 years.