Nevada sportsbooks set new revenue record for third straight year

nevada-sportsbookNevada casino gambling revenue was up slighly in 2015 despite a slight decrease at Las Vegas Strip casinos.

Figures released Friday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board showed that the state’s casinos earned $11.1b in gambling revenue last year, 0.9% higher than 2014’s total. Strip casinos reported annual revenue down less than 1% to $6.35b, while downtown Vegas casinos gained 6% to $542m and Reno casinos were up 3% to $571m.

Total slot machine revenue came to just over $7b in 2015, up 3.8% from 2014. Baccarat remained the state’s top table game earner in 2015 at nearly $1.29b, although this was down 14.3% year-on-year. Blackjack closed the gap by rising 3% to $1.09b.

Nevada sportsbooks set a new annual revenue record – their third in a row – with $231.8m, up 2.1% from 2014, while handle was up 8.4% to $4.23b (also a record). The gains came despite football winnings falling 27.4% to $82.5m, in large part due to a poor comparison with the 2014 Super Bowl, which earned the books a record $19.7m, while the 2015 game netted a mere $3.3m.

The annual sportsbook gains dovetail with the rise of mobile betting in Nevada. Eilers & Krejcik Gaming data shows mobile’s share of the state’s sports betting handle has risen from 13% in 2012 to 29% in 2015. The trend suggests mobile could account for nearly half of the state’s sports betting handle by 2020.

Nevada casinos closed out the year with a $982m revenue haul in December, a 3.3% year-on-year rise and only the third month of positive growth in 2015. The gains were largely attributable to action on the Strip, which rose 8.2% to $600.7m.

Statewide slots were up 1.1% in December to $565.5m while baccarat jumped 19% to $178.6m as a 14.8% hold helped offset a 10% fall in baccarat handle. Blackjack also had a good month, rising 7.9% to $96.9m, while roulette fell 14.7% to $29.7m and craps declined 10.6% to $27.5m.

Sportsbooks took a beating in December, with total sports revenue falling 29% to $18.5m. The carnage was largely due to an extremely poor performance in football, which was down 43.9% to just under $9m on a 3.16% hold. Laggard baseball bettors further depressed the books by cashing in $1.5m worth of winners while parlay cards fell 80% to $530k.

On the positive side of the equation, basketball had a strong month, rising 6% to $8.8m. Other sports rose 183% to $1.7m while the state’s race books were flat at just under $3m.