Nevada casino revenue slips in February as baccarat whales go MIA

nevada-casino-gaming-revenueNevada casino revenue dipped 1% in February, returning to negative territory after January’s numbers interrupted a five-month losing streak.

Statewide, Nevada casinos reported revenue of $916m, down 1% year-on-year and down nearly 4% from January’s figure. The numbers were even worse on the Las Vegas Strip, where revenue fell 4.4% to $555.7m. For the year-to-date, the numbers are off 2% statewide and 4.2% on the Strip.

Much of the decline was attributed to a decline in baccarat volume, which came despite the Lunar New Year celebrations in February, as Macau’s vanishing VIP phenomenon exported its problems to US shores. Baccarat revenue fell 23.5% to $121m as baccarat handle fell 21.8%.

Excluding baccarat, Strip gaming revenue actually rose 3%. Blackjack was up 23.3% to $89.9m and craps rose 18.6% to $33.9m while roulette fell 1.9% to $27.9m. The rest of the table tallies shook out thus: three-card poker ($12.4m, flat), mini-baccarat ($9.3m, -39.6%), pai gow poker ($9m, +19.4%), let it ride ($3.3m, -5.5%), keno ($2.2m, +31.3%) and bingo ($1.2m, +144%). Slots revenue rose 4.9% to $565m and poker revenue fell 8% to $8.5m.

Nevada sportsbooks saw revenue fall 54.2% to $14m, partly as a result of the 2014 Super Bowl’s record handle and win and the 2015 game’s abysmal 2.8% hold. Total football wagering revenue fell 82% to $3.3m on a 3% hold. Basketball couldn’t ride to the rescue, as roundball revenue fell 23% to $7.3m. Parlay cards gained 2.7% to $1.2m and the state’s race books were off 10.8% to $3.5m.

While sportsbooks have been beating bettors bloody on the March Madness front, Nevada hotelier Derek Stevens could win a cool $1m if Michigan State takes the NCAA basketball title. In the first week of December, Stevens put down $20k at 50:1 on the Spartans to win it all at the Golden Nugget sportsbook. Should Michigan prevail, Stevens told ESPN that he’d “give some bonus money to my employees,” share some more with Jerry Tarkanian’s Basketball Academy and “the rest I will reinvest in my properties.” While the Nugget sportsbook staff sobs quietly in a dark corner.