Nevada sportsbooks set new basketball handle record but revenue falls

nevada-sportsbooks-basketball-handleNevada casinos suffered a 3% gaming revenue drop in March as sports betting revenue fell nearly by half.

Figures released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board showed statewide gaming revenue of $922.3m in March, compared to $951.2m in the same month last year. The slide was slightly higher on the Las Vegas Strip, which declined 4% to $486.8m.

The most glaring number in the report was at the state’s licensed sportsbooks, which saw revenue fall nearly 48% to $9.6m as hold dropped to a piddling 2.11%. The numbers were further skewed by the fact that March 2015’s figure was 44% higher than the year before. Regardless, it spoiled a string of strong performances by the state’s sports betting operators.

The NCAA March Madness tourney helped generate a new record basketball handle of $422.2m but roundball revenue was down 23% year-on-year to $21.5m. Here too, comparisons hurt, as this past month’s 5.1% hold couldn’t hope to match March 2015’s record 7.44% hold.

All other sports categories were similarly negative, with baseball down 14.2%, sports parlay cards down 85% and other sports down 40%. Even the race book was off 10.4% to $4.2m. And it didn’t help that slowpoke football bettors cashed $13m worth of winning tickets in March, $1.4m more than the laggards cashed in March 2015.

As for the casinos’ main gaming floor, slots revenue was down 3% to $616.6m while total games and tables were off 3.2% to $305.6m. For a change, blackjack ($100.6m, +2.2%) easily topped baccarat ($65.7m, -3.5%) as the month’s top table earner.

The rest of the table games shook out as follows: craps ($32.3m, -16.7%), roulette ($29.5m, +18.3%), three-card poker (($13.9m, +1.9%), pai gow poker ($8.9m, -3.7%), mini-baccarat ($6.8m, +11.9%), let it ride ($3.3m, -13.2%), keno ($2.3m, -9.5%) and bingo ($1.2m, -34.7%), while other games and tables were up 21.8% to $17.5m and poker (including online poker) was flat at $9.7m.