How Coronavirus Pandemic Is Impacting Sports Betting Industry In Nevada

Written By Marc Meltzer on March 17, 2020
Bet on sports Las Vegas Nevada

Coronavirus is sweeping across the country. Last week every major professional US sports league suspended operations. The pro leagues are pausing their seasons with hopes of returning in the future. Meanwhile, the NCAA entirely canceled all men’s and women’s championships for the winter and spring.

The NCAA cancelation includes March Madness which is one of the busiest times for sportsbooks in Nevada. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Nevada sportsbooks won $36.5 million on basketball in March 2019 from $498.7 million in bets. The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NVGCB) estimates that $349 million of the total amount wagered on basketball was from the NCAA Tournament.

This is usually a great time for sports bettors in Nevada. March Madness gets much of the attention but there are plenty of other sports to wager on. The NBA and NHL seasons are usually heading towards the playoffs. MLB is just finishing spring training and starting its regular season.

The NFL Hot Stove season is also getting underway. The NFL Draft was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas this April but in-person activities have been canceled. The draft will still take place in April just not in Las Vegas. There are major trades taking place already as the league gets ready for a new year.

Some Nevada casinos closing

MGM Resorts and Wynn have decided to close their respective casinos. For the time being, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is allowing casinos in the state to remain open. Social distancing at the tables and slot machines is necessary.

Nevada sportsbooks are still showing horse racing and a few other games that are taking place around the world. Bettors in the state don’t necessarily have to visit the casino to gamble thanks to mobile betting.

Mobile sports betting in Nevada

Most sports in the US have been canceled but there are games happening around the world. When there’s action to be had, you can bet the sportsbooks will be taking bets. In January, mobile betting accounted for 56% of the money wagered on sports in Nevada according to Legal Sports Report. Some sportsbooks have taken more mobile sports wagers than others.

While tourists on the Vegas Strip might not fund mobile wagering accounts plenty of locals do. William Hill has more than 100 sportsbooks throughout Nevada. According to William Hill’s summary of 2019, 69% of wagers in Nevada come via mobile app (see page 12).

Betting sports today in Nevada

Over the weekend a William Hill bettor won almost $10,000 for a $100 parlay on soccer in Russia and Turkey.

William Hill is still offering live wagering for certain events. They will send out updates for live wagering opportunities every morning.

William Hill isn’t the only sportsbook operator open for business. Sportsbook operators like the Westgate are offering a small variety of wagering opportunities for sports bettors. This week the Westgate will be taking wagers on the following sports:

  • Aussie Rules Football
  • Russian KHL hockey conference semifinal playoffs
  • Turkish Super Ligi (basketball)
  • Argentina Primera B Nacional (soccer)
  • Brazil Campeonato Paulista (soccer)
  • Chile Primera Division (soccer)
  • Russia Premier League (soccer)
  • Turkey Super Lig (soccer)
  • Australia A League (soccer)
  • Serbia Super Liga (soccer)

The daily sports menu above might not be games that interest the majority of US sports bettors. Over the weekend Nevada’s newest sportsbook operator, Circa Sports, became the first in the state to offer NFL season win totals.

Dana White says UFC will happen. The last UFC card took place over the weekend in Brazil and White says he’s looking for a venue for the next UFC card. Since fight night, the Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) is now recommending that there are no gatherings of more than 50 people. (Update: UFC cancels three events)

Many Nevada residents are working from home or self-quarantining from the public. This could allow for extra time to research new sports leagues or plan ahead for the return of US professional sports leagues.

This is a strange time for many people in Nevada (and the world). Sports betting won’t be the same for a while but there are still some live events and futures available to give a little respite from news about Coronavirus.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He’s the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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