Nevada sports betting reaches seven-year low

November 13, 2001 9:21 AM
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Sports betting in the state of Nevada for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2001 slumped to a seven-year low of $2.1 billion, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board.

The amount handled by the state’s 156 sports books was 16 percent less than the $2.5 billion handled during the previous fiscal year.

Although the handle was off, sports books enjoyed a strong hold percentage of 5.35 percent, which was the highest in 27 years.

Most sports directors and bookmakers attributed the diminishing action to a combination of factors, including the advent of off-shore betting, and tougher controls put in place by Nevada regulators.

However, one long-time bookmaker, who asked not to be identified, said restrictions on telephone betting and prohibition of “runner” betting has virtually shut down high-stakes wagering.

“About 90 percent of the high-end action ”” players would bet $40,000 to $50,000 per weekend ”” was handled by runners,” the bookmaker said. “But the new regs have taken the runners off the street.”

Factor in restrictions on telephone wagering, and the “wise guys” have lost interest in betting in Nevada.

“We used to take in hundreds of thousands of dollars a day in phone bets,” he said. “With a current limit of $2,200 in a 24-hour period, the handle over the phones has dropped to just a few thousand dollars.”