The Action Returns to Vegas

The Action Returns to Vegas
Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash

When it comes to sportsbooks in the US, most people think of Las Vegas. Until recently, there wasn’t another option when it came to wagering on the major leagues. For decades, sportsbooks stationed in Las Vegas establishments owned the odds outright.

However, this changed in 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled against a 1992 federal law. This law had effectively banned commercial sports betting in all states that had failed to previously create legislation that specifically tackled sports betting.

Since this ruling, some states have slowly opened their door to sportsbooks or, at least started a conversation about how the state envisions regulating sportsbooks. Given the popularity of leagues like the NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA (to name a few), it seems likely most states will legalize sports betting. 

Meanwhile, back in Las Vegas, more and more resorts and casinos have sought to refurbish a long-standing Vegas tradition with sportsbooks. Most have tried to do this by creating luxury in-person betting opportunities that will help them stand out amongst their competition.

Since Vegas has imported NHL and NFL franchises in 2017 and 2020 respectively, interest in the famous Vegas sports betting market is no longer for sports pundits alone. Fans interested in wagering on NFL betting odds will have ample opportunities in the City of Lights to get in on the action for their team.

While the experience of betting in-person at a live game is exciting, seasoned bettors will likely stick to online sites, which tend to offer better deals. On the other hand, visitors may prefer a trip to the recently-completed Allegiant Stadium to experience an extravagant wagering experience at a betting lounge.

Summer Struggles 

Although the betting markets in Vegas allow punters to wager on sports worldwide, the city has its own private interest in the market. Currently, the Vegas Golden Knights are battling through the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, which has piqued interest, while the Las Vegas Raiders are about to start their first season.

While the State Gambling Control Board tallied Nevada’s June revenue from all gaming markets at $566 million, this is only half of what the state brought in last year. This reflects a difficult summer not only for sportsbooks but for all sectors, including card games and casino games.

However, the action on sportsbooks is returning to Sin City. At the end of June, Westgate sportsbooks reopened. Prior to that, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment opened a new location with its own in-person sportsbooks.

This is a reflection not only of the NHL’s ongoing post-season play, but also the MLB’s shortened summer season. With limited opportunity left to wager on the stunted NHL and MLB season play, more and more punters are readying their bets.

Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash

Nationwide Competition

The rush to reopen sportsbooks was a high priority for Vegas. In the city, various sportsbooks aren’t the only market to contend with. There’s a new major sportsbook center: New Jersey.

While Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Colorado have also recently introduced legislation that allows sportsbooks to operate legally, New Jersey has been Nevada’s top competition since they legalized sports betting in June of 2018.

New Jersey has its own version of Las Vegas: Atlantic City. Though the coastal stretch was pushed to the brink of financial ruin during the 2008 slump, the city pulled through with major help from government subsidies.

Since then, Atlantic City has worked to rebrand itself as an east coast iteration of the beloved Las Vegas strip. And they haven’t only sought to do this by building fancy resorts and casinos. They’ve invested time and effort into creating reliable sportsbooks and moving them online.

While New Jersey still isn’t able to compete with Las Vegas when it comes to attracting bets on events like the NFL’s Super Bowl or the NBA’s March Madness, they’re pulling in strong numbers. In May of 2019, New Jersey sportsbooks even managed to hedge past Vegas bookmakers.

Sports betting in the Garden State brought in $318.9 million in handle, which led to $15.5 million in revenue for the month of May. When the Nevada Gaming Control Board turned in their number shortly after, longtime punters were stunned to see $317.3 million in handle and $11.6 million in revenue.