Whatever you personally may have felt about the validity of the recent match-up between MMA star Conor McGregor and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, boxing betting fans from all over the world certainly enjoyed the cash cow of a fight. Plenty of established online sportsbooks and new betting sites saw record amounts being wagered upon the outcome of the fight.
In the USA, sports-betting is only permissible in certain states and is restricted online too, but that did not prevent all manner of records being broken in anticipation of the fight.
It’s estimated that a staggering $65 million (£50 million) was wagered on the outcome and other aspects of the unique Mayweather/McGregor bout. If proven accurate, this would easily be the most amount of cash ever wagered upon a boxing match, despite Nevada’s undisputed heritage of being the capital of many of the best boxing bouts and of gambling in the USA as a whole.
It’s likely that bookies took a major hit thanks to this fight. The vast majority of the smart money was placed squarely on the muscle-laden shoulders of Mayweather, who had ended his professional boxing career with a perfect record of 49-0. Despite Conor McGregor’s status as the undisputed king of mixed martial arts, the lethal Irishman was seen as nothing but a rank outsider for the fight. McGregor did eventually last ten rounds of course before the fight was stopped, and Mayweather eventually prevailed as expected.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board – the body that oversees gambling in the state – has now released figures that show an all-time record of $301 million being wagered on sports betting for the month, including that £65 million figure on the Mayweather/McGregor bout alone. That constitutes a jaw-dropping 1,651% rise in gambling revenue for the month of August in comparison to the same month last year.
The previous record for Nevada boxing was set two years ago when Mayweather again took on Manny Pacquiao. That fight generated an estimated £50 million in revenue. Boxing though still has a way to go before it comes anywhere close to the overall sports record for gaming revenue attracted by a single event. That was set in February 2017 when $135.8 million was wagered on Superbowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
It seems that sports betting has had a knock-on effect to other aspects of gambling – both online and off – in Nevada. Casinos in the state have recorded a five percent increase in slot machine takings and significant rises in revenue generated by blackjack and roulette.
Sportsbooks in Nevada will be hoping for another Mayweather/McGregor type bout in the near future, but with Mayweather now firmly retired there is the need for another fighter to take on the superstar mantle. Perhaps the UK’s Anthony Joshua could be that man – his fight in April this year with Wladimir Klitschko drew record box office takings. The Nevada sports-betting elite might just be seeing another record-breaking payday very soon.