Nevada casino sportsbooks posted their first losing football month in four years last month.
Figures released Tuesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show statewide gaming revenue of $1.04b in January, a healthy 12% higher than the same month last year and the highest monthly total since February 2013. The last time the state topped the $1b mark was July 2016.
The year-on-year gains were higher on the Las Vegas Strip, which rose 14.4% to $609m. But Downtown Las Vegas posted the month’s largest percentage gain, rising 32% to $55.5m, while North Las Vegas was up 26% to $28.7m and the Boulder Strip improved 24.5% to $84.9m.
January’s gains were driven by the timing of the Chinese New Year celebrations, which typically straddle the end of January and the beginning of February but this year came entirely in January. The Asian influx was reflected in the month’s baccarat revenue, which shot up over 55% to just under $158m as baccarat turnover jumped nearly 48% to $935m.
Blackjack also had a stellar month, rising 21.3% to $110.5m, while craps and roulette posted declines, falling 0.5% to $31.5m and 10.7% to $31.2m, respectively. Total table revenue was up 16.1% to $401.8m while slots revenue jumped 9.6% to $634.5m.
Nevada sportsbooks took it on the chin in January, as revenue fell 59.5% to just under $8m. The books lost a total of $8.25m on their football wagers in January, marking the first time the books have lost money on football since January 2013 and the second-worst football month on record behind November 2005’s $11.3m loss.
The books were hit by a double whammy of National Football League favorites going 9:1 against the spread during the playoffs while the NCAA Clemson-Alabama tilt was said to be among the worst ever results for some Nevada books.
The poor football showing erased what was a spectacular month for basketball wagering. The books reported roundball revenue of nearly $18.2m, up 78.1% year-on-year based on an 8.9% hold. But sports parlay cards generated a $480k loss, extremely lazy baseball bettors cashed in $1.7m worth of winning tickets, and race betting revenue fell 15.4% to $3.2m.