Nevada casinos topped the $1b gaming revenue mark in the first month of 2018, thanks in part to a near-record January at the sportsbooks.
Figures released Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show statewide gaming revenue hitting $1.015b in January, a 2.5% decrease from January 2017. The decline was almost entirely limited to the Las Vegas Strip, where revenue fell nearly 9% to $554.7m, while virtually all other regions of the state were in positive territory.
Statewide slots revenue was up 7.6% to $655.5m, while total games & tables revenue declined 10.5% to $359.5m. Nearly all the major table games were down double-digits, led by baccarat ($113.2m, -28.3%), blackjack ($97.5m, -11.8%), roulette ($27.7m, -11.5%) and three-card poker ($10.7m, -5.8%). Craps proved an outlier, rising 12% to $35.3m.
The casinos’ sportsbooks had a stellar month, with overall revenue shooting up nearly 216% to $25.1m. The state’s racebooks weren’t as fortune, with revenue down 3.1% to $3.1m.
Basketball wagering led the revenue chart with just under $15m, the second-best January performance for the books behind only January 2017. Basketball handle hit $202m, but revenue was down 18.2% year-on-year as hold fell 1.5 points to 7.4%.
Football wagering revenue contributed only $7.8m, but this was up nearly 193% year-on-year, thanks to January 2017 being a rare losing month for football. Football handle totaled nearly $180m, about $40m less than the previous January, although this was largely due to a calendar quirk pushing the NFL’s final 2016 regular season game into January 2017.
The state’s ‘other’ betting category kicked in revenue of $2.85m, a whopping 1,251% year-on-year increase. The gains are in part attributable to the town’s new National Hockey League franchise, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, which have sparked new wagering interest in what had been a niche fetish of Canadian tourists.
Parlay cards added $430k to the books’ January revenue, while laggard baseball bettors ate into the books’ returns by cashing in nearly $1m worth of overdue winning tickets. The ‘sports pari-mutuel’ operations of Nevada-licensed US Fantasy Sports brought in a mere $16k.