Nevada Sports Betting Stunted by In-Person Registration, Losing Millions to Arizona

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In a surprising turn of events, the 2018 Supreme Court ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) sorts the Silver State’s monopoly on regulated sports betting in the United States. What many casual observers didn’t know was how much the strict regulations would dent Nevada’s golden status, confining it to being a regional player while negatively impacting the state’s chance to rake in more tax revenue from the betting proclivity boom.

Arguably, the biggest hindrance to the growth of Nevada’s sports betting industry is traced to an unusual requirement: in-person registration. Residents are mandated to take a physical trip to a casino to fill registration paperwork, simply to get a single mobile sports betting account. This cumbersome process multiplies with each new account they aim to create.

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For instance, a bettor who desires simultaneous accessibility to three applicable giants- BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and Circa Sports- would have to visit three separate casinos to fulfill these paper-sign-up rituals. At first glance, these seem like bearable inconveniences. But in the words of Michael Schaus, founder of Schaus Creative LLC, these sporadic annoyances leave a tangible scar on the local market.

This view seems well endorsed, considering that April marked the first month since online sports betting debut in Arizona. This was when sportsbook operators in the southwestern state were able to book more bets than those in Nevada. The gap was glaringly high at $87 million, showcasing the financial perks inherent in mobile registration.

In retrospect, last year saw Nevada sportsbooks clocking about $1.7 billion more in bets than their Arizonian counterparts. However, sportsbooks in Arizona were not lagging behind by a significant gap, they fetched almost $77 million more in revenue.

Significant setbacks are associated with Nevada’s in-person registration requirement for mobile sports betting accounts. Seeing as locals circuitously avoid the Las Vegas Strip, it is this very place where they have to visit to sign-up for accounts with BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, or SuperBook. The handful who do not wish to face the bustling Strip or downtown Las Vegas have their betting app options practically restricted to offerings from Boyd Gaming and Red Rock Resorts.

Until Nevada ousts the in-person registration requirement, trends suggest that the gap between the state and Arizona will continue to widen, with the latter potentially gaining yearly financial leverage of $100 million to $200 million over Nevada.

Nevada’s in-person registration rule has also inadvertently excluded two of the largest online sportsbook operators — FanDuel and DraftKings — from the state. Although speculation is rife on when the exclusion may be lifted, these companies can still contemplate land-based casino acquisitions.

Nonetheless, despite the inconvenience of the long commute, professional sports bettors in the Las Vegas area sometimes cross the Nevada-Arizona border to gain access to DraftKings and FanDuel. Such proactive moves indicate that Southern Nevada sportsbooks may not have the geographical edge they once possessed.

While Nevada maintains some geographical leverage, given that its bordering states — California, Idaho, and Utah — do not permit sports betting, it is gradually losing advantageous grounds. Even Oregon, with a DraftKings monopoly, draws only a small percentage of Nevada’s total population due to proximity.

It isn’t merely frustrating for consumers and tourists, but it is also a significant loss for Nevada operators and state coffers, who miss out on their share of the online gaming surge occurring elsewhere. And all these results suggest that it’s time for Nevada to adapt to newer ways and shed the cloak of stringent regulations which are costing the state earnings. In essence, it’s time for Nevada to transition into a more modern, tech-hub world.