Nevada casinos snapped their two-month streak of gaming revenue declines in September thanks in part to a record performance by their sportsbooks.
Figures released Tuesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show statewide casino gaming revenue of $991.2m in September, a modest 1.2% rise over the same month last year but a significant improvement over the $913m the casinos earned in August 2018. The picture was dimmer on the Las Vegas Strip, where casinos posted a 3.7% year-on-year fall to $546m.
Nevada’s slots were in fine form in September, rising 7% to $637.2m, while revenue from ‘table, counter and card games’ was off 7.7% to $354m. Virtually all the major table games except roulette ($40m, +22.4%) were broadly negative, led by baccarat ($70.4m, -27%), blackjack ($92.1m, -17.5%) and craps ($32.7m, -10.4%). With the exception of baccarat, table betting volume was up 4.7% at Strip casinos, meaning the state simply played unlucky for the month.
On the bright side, Nevada’s sportsbooks were celebrating the return of National Football League action, which helped boost the books’ total take to a record $56.3m, up 26.7% from the same month last year and exceeding the previous record of $53.4m set in September 2012.
Overall betting handle was also in record territory, hitting $571m, a $6m improvement over October 2017’s total. By way of comparison, New Jersey’s nascent licensed sports betting market handled $184m worth of wagers in September, less than one-third of Nevada’s September business.
The Nevada books’ football win came in at $44.3m, up 11.4% year-on-year, thanks to an impressive win rate of 8.9%. These gaudy figures are unlikely to be repeated when October’s numbers are released, as most Nevada books have reported back-to-back losing NFL weeks to close out the present month.
The return of NFL action helped boost parlay card revenue to $6.8m, up 17.2% year-on-year. Baseball revenue improved 14.7% to $4.25m, while ‘other’ sports generated just under $1.5m. Basketball proved a net negative at -$537k, and the state’s race books were down 7.1% to $3.2m.