For the third consecutive month, gambling revenues for Nevada casinos have reached the $1b mark.
On Monday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board released financial data for the state’s casinos, showing total earnings of $1.03bn (£760m) in March. That was a 3.4% increase year-over-year due to a strong baccarat month and a new record for basketball sports wagers. The March gaming win surpassed February’s $1.02bn (£750m). January totals are the highest so far for 2018, at $1.15b (£850m).
Along with the strong baccarat and basketball figures, the state’s gaming increase was assisted by an additional weekend day and several scheduled events. The UFC 222 show was held in March, along with concerts by Kid Rock and Chris Stapleton, which helped to bring in visitors to the state.
Breaking down the numbers
The report shows that game and table winnings came in at $381m (£280m) for the month, an increase of 13.5% over March 2017. Baccarat was a major contributor to March earnings, with the card game increasing 110.6% from the same period last year. The game brought in $58.8m (£43.2m) in March 2017 and $117.2m (£86.1m) in March of this year. Without the baccarat, the state’s total win would have decreased by 2.7%, so the game certainly helped to push totals over the $1b mark.
Card games for the state, meaning poker, were up 5.7%, with $10.1m (£7.4m) in earnings. Roulette also showed a slight increase when comparing March year-over-year totals, with $29.1m (£21.4m) in earnings, a 1.6% rise from the previous year. Blackjack earnings dropped 15.5% to $95.2m (£70.0m). Craps was also down, with $34.2m (£25.1m) in earnings, a 2.5% decrease.
Gambling regulators reported that the Las Vegas Strip saw a nice increase in earnings, bringing in around $574m (£422m), up 9.1%. Carson Valley, including sections of Douglas County, earned $9.4m (£6.9m) for the month, an increase of 12.7%; that was driven by slot gaming, which was up 13.5%. North Lake Tahoe casinos also saw an increase in March, with $2m (£1.5m), supported by a 67% increase in table games.
In contrast, other areas saw sharp declines in revenues. The Tahoe south shore casinos dropped 12.8%, with $14.6m (£10.7m) in earnings. The biggest drop was seen in downtown Las Vegas, where only $54m (£39.7) was earned, a decline of 14.2%.
Record basketball wagering
The total overall gaming increase in Nevada was assisted not only by baccarat gaming but also by basketball wagering via the state’s sportsbooks. For March, sportsbooks saw an increase in revenues of 8.7%, to just under $34.2m (£25.1m). The NCAA’s March Madness tournament helped drive the sportsbooks numbers, with the basketball betting handle hitting $436.6m (£320.8m), a record for the sport.
It was the seventh straight March in which wagering reached record numbers. In total, sports fans wagered $521.6m (£383.3m) for March, setting a new overall record. The senior analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control board, Mike Lawton, said: “Obviously, that was driven by basketball. Basketball betting volumes were $436.6 million (£320.8m), that’s an all-time record for basketball for any month ever, and of course, a lot of that activity was driven by the NCAA basketball tournament.”
The state was provided around $75m (£55m) in percentage fees from taxable revenues that were generated in March.