Nevada casino revenue topped the $1b mark for the third straight month in March, thanks in part to record basketball wagering.
Figures released Monday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show Nevada’s statewide casino gaming revenue hit $1.024b in March, nearly 3.4% higher than the same month last year while surpassing both February 2018’s $1.02b and January’s $1.15b.
Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip led the charge, with revenue rising 9.1% to just under $574m. The Strip’s gains offset sharp declines in Downtown and North Las Vegas, which were down 14.2% and 9.4%, respectively.
Slots revenue fell 1.85% year-on-year to $643.3m despite slots handle rising 2%, while total Games & Tables revenue improved 13.5% to $381m. Baccarat had a stellar month, more than doubling its total from March 2017 to $117.2m, as handle rose 44.7% and win rate rose four points to 14%.
Blackjack wasn’t so lucky, falling 15.5% to $95.2m, and neither was craps, which declined 2.5% to $34.2m, while roulette eked out a 1.6% rise to $29.1m. ‘Card games’ aka poker (and online poker) was up 5.7% to $10.1m.
The state’s sportsbooks had another stellar March, with revenue rising 8.7% to just under $34.2m. The NCAA March Madness tourney drove the basketball numbers as usual with $38m in revenue, although this was down 7.9% year-on-year. Regardless, basketball betting handle hit a record $436.5m, the seventh straight March of record roundball wagering.
The state’s books would have performed much better overall were it not for an insanely high number of football bettors cashing overdue winning tickets. The books doled out over $11m in football winnings in March, a nearly 910% increase over the same month last year.
Parlay card betting also enjoyed a b-ball bounce, rising over 617% to $3.85m. Baseball shot up 472% to $2.1m while ‘other’ sports were down 45.3% to $1.24m. The state’s race betting operators reported a relatively flat month with revenue of just under $4.1m.
Looking ahead to April’s sports numbers, ESPN reported that Nevada’s second year of taking wagers on the NFL draft was a money loser for the books, thanks in part to the New York Giants’ surprise pick of Penn State RB Saquon Barkley at #2 overall.
The Westgate reported draft wagering handle up 350% from year one, but the limited number of Nevada-approved wagering options also limited the books’ ability to hedge.