March Sports Betting Handle Declines 76% in Nevada with Las Vegas Strip Shut Down Amid Coronavirus

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: An empty Las Vegas Strip

Numbers published by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday showed just how much the shutting down of sports affected the state’s sportsbooks last month.

The total amount of money bet on sports in Nevada in March was $141.2 million, down 76.3% from last March, which brought in a record $596.8 million. Nevada’s gaming business overall, in comparison, was down only 39.6% on the month.

On March 11, Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the Coronavirus. The NBA immediately shut down. Within 24 hours, all other major North American sports had done the same.

Last March, a record $495.1 million was bet on basketball in Nevada, boosted by March Madness. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament was canceled this year.

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New Jersey, which has much more of a mobile business than Nevada (88% of bets in N.J. are made online versus 63% for Nevada) — had less of a year-over-year decline.

New Jersey took in $187.9 million in sports bets in March versus $372.4 million last March, a decline of 51.2%.

Counting Wednesday, Nevada casinos have been shut down for 42 days and a return date has not been promised.

In the meantime, hotels like the Wynn and the Venetian have published guidelines to returning which include sanitizing procedures, plexiglass partitions between gamblers and cameras that scan the temperature of patrons as they walk in any door.

Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman got universally panned for her comments on CNN in which she told Anderson Cooper that she wants to get back to business, saying she offered to be a control group to see if social distancing had worked.

More than 59,000 people have died of the Coronavirus in the United States. There have been 225 people who have died in Nevada, tied for the 26th-most with Kentucky.

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