Online sports betting helps buoy Nevada’s gaming tax revenue during the pandemic

COVID-19 has been a boon for online sports betting in Nevada and across the United States

The Silver Legacy Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada - photo: the Ally

Compared to 2019, Nevada’s nonrestricted casinos saw a steep 35 percent decline in total gaming win in 2020. Counter and board games experienced a more than 40 percent drop. By contrast, revenue from sports betting only dropped by 20 percent, an ugly but positive outlier in an otherwise catastrophic year for Nevada’s leading industry.

A downturn in the gaming business has significant implications for the Nevada state budget. According to a Guinn Center analysis, the state’s 2 percent portion of all sales tax, no matter the county, makes up nearly 30 percent of state revenue. Gaming is the second largest contributor and accounts for roughly 18 percent of the state budget. The Modified Business Tax makes up 14 percent of state revenue.

Nevada was the first state to launch online gambling in 2013. Pennsylvania and Delaware soon followed. Nevada has been officially taking bets on sporting events since 1949 and is acknowledged as the world leader in sports betting, both in-person and online, but the market is getting crowded. 

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which enabled other states to license online sports betting operations. 

Since the decision, Illinois, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Mississippi, West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia, and many other states have launched online sports gaming, and the rush is on with many more states looking to join the online sports gaming market.

To learn more, we spoke with Nick Wojcik, a legal analyst for Odds.com about the future of online betting that may include wagers on who will win an Oscar and politics. Listen …

See music credits below the visualizations.

Music credits as reported to the Public Radio Exchange, in order of appearance:

Song: Midnight is the Hour
Artist: 9 in Common
Album:  Au Revoir Paris
Label: Seamless Recordings
Date: 2011
Duration: 2:36

Song: Au Revoir Paris
Artist: 9 in Common
Album:  Au Revoir Paris
Label: Seamless Recordings
Date: 2011
Duration: 1:56

Song: Foggy
Artist: 9 in Common
Album:  Au Revoir Paris
Label: Seamless Recordings
Date: 2011
Duration: 1:22

Song: Pete
Artist: 9 in Common
Album:  Au Revoir Paris
Label: Seamless Recordings
Date: 2011
Duration: 1:22

Song: Rich and Famous
Artist: Mephia
Album: Trip Hop Chilled Electronica
Label: Irma Records
Date: 2016
Duration: 1:56

Song: Lo-Fi Ghost Apparition
Artist: Dust
Album: Trip Hop Chilled Electronica
Label: Irma Records
Date: 2016
Duration: 2:49