Nevada casinos came tantalizingly close to crossing the magical $1b gaming revenue threshold in May, no thanks to the state’s licensed sports betting operators.
Figures released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) show the state’s casinos generated gaming revenue of $991.6m in May, 3.5% higher than the same month last year and over $100m more than the state reported in April 2017.
The gains were evenly distributed across most of Clark County, with only the North Las Vegas region in negative territory for the month. Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip fared slightly worse than the overall average, rising just under 3% to $546.8m.
Slots revenue was up 7% to just over $647m, while blackjack ($110.8m, +3.2%) outpaced baccarat ($100.9m, +13.2%) to claim the month’s table game crown. A solid month at the state’s roulette wheels ($36.5m, +29.2%) allowed the game to easily outperform craps ($30m, -4.8%). Total games and tables revenue was up 13.7% to $344.4m.
Poker revenue was flat at $8.9m, as early arrivals for the 2017 World Series of Poker – which kicked off on May 30 – were apparently more interested in Sin City’s other attractions than boosting poker play.
The state’s sportsbooks had a rough month, as total betting revenue fell nearly 50% year-on-year to just under $3m. Basketball wagering resulted in a net loss of $4.4m for the books, as the extended streak of NBA playoff favorites covering the spread dragged down basketball hold to a negative 4.6%. The net loss is the worst monthly basketball result in NGCB history.
Parlay cards were also in negative territory, although the loss was only $57k, while laggard football bettors cashed in $1.6m worth of overdue winning tickets. The state’s race betting operators managed to make money but their win for the month was down 6.2% year-on-year to $4.9m.
Baseball was the books’ sole redeeming activity, as betting win shot up 129% to $6.6m despite a somewhat modest hold of 3.8%. The revenue figure was well shy of April’s monthly record $10.16m, but the past two months’ gains mark a solid start to the current Major League Baseball season all the same.