The sports betting world continues to undergo a seismic shift thanks to the repealing of PASPA last year – but no matter how many states decide to legalize the practice, for some sports bettors, Nevada will always be home. The state enjoyed nearly six decades of autonomy in the U.S. sports betting sphere. Despite a growing list of competitors since PASPA was done away with, Nevada remains the go-to place for sports bettors from around the country and around the world.
What separates Nevada sports betting from the rest of the country – both in these early stages and as more states legalize sports wagering – is the sheer number of options. Nearly a dozen sportsbooks are operating within the state, and every casino offers sports wagering through one of these books. So get comfortable; the list of casinos and sportsbook affiliations is a long one.
Here’s a more thorough breakdown of the various sportsbooks operating in Nevada:
Boyd Gaming: The Paradise-based gaming company has a modest presence in Las Vegas but does most of its operating out of neighboring casinos. It was also at the forefront of the eSports betting movement as the first sportsbook to offer odds on an eSports event operating at one of their casinos.
Caesars: One of the biggest sportsbook operators on the planet, Caesars got into the mobile sports app market later than other Nevada operators. That said, it is one of the most well-known names in gaming. It has drawn plenty of positive attention for its recently renovated Caesars Palace sportsbook, which boasts one of the best viewing experiences for the wagering public. With the state’s Gaming Control Board unanimously allowing Caesars to acquire William Hill sportsbook, the state’s largest bookmaking operation with more than 120 outlets, Caesars will increase its footprint as one of the largest and most powerful sportsbooks in the country.
MGM: One of the most well-known sportsbook operators in the country, MGM Resorts International is affiliated with some of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas, including Bellagio, Aria, and Monte Carlo. But the signature location, the MGM Grand, is the centerpiece of MGM’s sportsbook offering, with one of the biggest spaces in the city – and the PlayMGM app offers a wide variety of options inside the casino.
South Point: For those looking to eschew the more grandiose Nevada sportsbooks, South Point offers the best of both worlds – allowing for a more intimate sports betting experience while offering many of the same betting options as the bigger players. Even more significantly, South Point’s odds are often better than what you’ll find in other areas of Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada.
Station Casinos: Station Casinos is the sportsbook chain favored most by those away from the Las Vegas Strip – and was one of the first to delve into the online sports betting space, even offering betting opportunities via a pager before cell phones became more en vogue. All standard bet types are supported, and Station Casinos offers the usual assortment of available sports and leagues.
Treasure Island: If you’re looking for a quaint, small-book feel, this is the place for you. It isn’t nearly as busy as most other Nevada sportsbooks, but that works just fine for players who crave a little more peace and quiet. The sportsbook also underwent a significant renovation a couple of years ago, offering a more modern experience than in years past.
Westgate: If you’re a Vegas regular – heck, even if you aren’t – the chances are good that Westgate is the first name off your lips when it comes to the industry standard for odds. Westgate provides the most comprehensive collection of prop bets for most signature sporting events and is the go-to place for all of those wacky Super Bowl prop wagers that get referenced on national media the week before the game.
William Hill: There’s a reason we didn’t list all of William Hill’s Nevada properties: there are simply too many of them. William Hill operates in more than 100 casinos and racetracks within the state, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has been to a William Hill sportsbook. It’s the best and biggest in the business, with more than 16,000 employees worldwide. Their acquisition of CG Technology extended their reach even further in 2020, which welcomed notable casinos such as Cosmopolitan, Hard Rock, The Palazzo, Palms, Tropicana, and The Venetian to their family. Now, it’s their turn to be acquired as Caesars Entertainment is in the process of acquiring William Hill.
Wynn Las Vegas: If you’re looking for the most aesthetically-pleasing experience in Nevada, it might be hard to top the sportsbook at the Wynn. An extensive renovation in 2017 produced one of the most expansive and bettor-friendly sportsbooks on the strip, with only one niggling issue: the lettering on the big screens can be difficult to see from afar, which is an issue when the sportsbook is packed.
Nevada Sports Betting History
If it seems like Nevada has had sports betting for as long as you can remember, that’s because it has. The state legalized sports betting all the way back in 1949, following nearly 20 years of success in the non-sports-gambling space. Even after PASPA was introduced in 1992 – prohibiting states from legalizing sports gambling – Nevada was grandfathered in, thereby providing the state a virtual monopoly.
Of course, things weren’t so easy for Nevada sportsbooks in the early-1950s after the federal government instituted a 10 percent tax on all betting revenue. It was an enormous blow to the industry and resulted in the closure of most sportsbooks within the state. It took nearly 25 years for the government to make things easier on the sportsbook industry, lowering that 10 percent tax to 2 percent – and as a result, sports betting flourished in a major way in the desert.
Stardust Casino quickly became the first casino in Las Vegas to operate an on-site brick-and-mortar sportsbook. The industry exploded with a further tax cut in 1984 from 2 percent down to a minuscule 0.25 percent. Nevada survived the arrival of PASPA eight years later and has been thriving in the sports betting space ever since.
Nevada Sports Betting at a Glance
Here’s what you need to know about Nevada’s current sports betting landscape:
- There were 148 sportsbooks in operation in Nevada as of the end of 2020, down from 191 in 2019.
- Like everywhere in the world, COVID had a major impact on revenue for Nevada in 2020. Casinos in the state generated $6.75 billion in gaming revenue, down two billion from the previous year.
- 2018 was a peak year for sports betting in Nevada, which saw more than $5 billion in total handle while taking in more than $300 million in total revenue for the year; both were record figures for the state. The overall casino gaming revenue also peaked in 2018 at $11.6 billion.
- The state’s win percentage in 2018 was 6.01 percent, the highest take rate in 11 years.
- Football and basketball made up roughly two-thirds of all sports wagers made within the state in 2018, with football handle totaling $1.8 billion and basketball at $1.5 billion – buoyed, no doubt, by the annual March Madness wagering frenzy.
- Speaking of which, Nevada saw nearly $600 million in handle in March 2019, setting a new single-month record. That record handle includes $495 million in March Madness handle, easily outpacing the $432 million in handle generated during March Madness in 2018.
- According to Legal Sports Report, between 50 and 70 percent of sports wagers placed in Nevada are made on mobile devices; this number lags well behind that of New Jersey, which sees roughly 80 percent of all sports wagers made via mobile devices.
- Nevada recorded a 7.4 percent win rate on Super Bowl wagers in 2019, the fifth time in seven years that figure has exceeded 7 percent. The state has had just one negative win rate on Super Bowl wagers since 2004, coming in at -2.8 percent on the New York Giants’ 17-14 win over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots at Super Bowl XLII in 2008.
Nevada Sports Betting FAQs
Where can I place a sports wager in Nevada?
The better question is, where can’t you place a sports wager in Nevada? In addition to all of the casinos found in Las Vegas, you’ll find no shortage of sportsbook options in just about every other corner of the state, including Reno and Lake Tahoe.
How is sports betting regulated in Nevada?
The Nevada Gaming Commission regulates all sports betting activity within the state.
What kinds of sports wagers can I make at Nevada casinos?
Nevada sportsbooks will offer a wide range of bet types, including (but not limited to):
- Straight wagers
- Totals wagers (Over/Under)
- Moneyline wagers
- Prop wagers
- Futures wagers
- Round-robin wagers
- Live (in-play) bets
What sports can I wager on at Nevada sportsbooks?
Nevada sportsbooks have the largest collection of wager-able sports in the country, an exhaustive list that includes (but is certainly not limited to):
- Australian Rules Football
- Auto racing (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One)
- Horse racing (actual and virtual)
- Mixed martial arts
- MLB, college, and select international baseball
- NBA and college basketball
- NFL and college football
- NHL and select international hockey
- Soccer (MLS, USL, international)
Bettors were prohibited from placing wagers on teams within the state until 2001 when that law was changed. In addition to betting on the NHL’s Golden Knights and university teams (University of Nevada and UNLV), patrons will have the opportunity to wager on the NFL’s Raiders, who kicked off their first season in “Sin City” in 2020.