Nevada casino sportsbooks set a new monthly record for basketball betting handle in March, which helped push the state’s overall gaming revenue over the billion-dollar mark.
Figures released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show statewide gaming revenue of $1.023b in March, which, despite topping the magical billion-dollar threshold for the second consecutive month, actually represents a 0.12% decrease from the same month last year. The billion-plus result also came despite gaming revenue at Las Vegas Strip casinos falling 3.8% to just under $552m.
The state’s slot machines had a solid month, with revenue up 5% to $675.3m. It was a much different story in the ‘table, counter and card games’ category, which reported revenue falling 8.75% to $347.7m. Most of that decline came courtesy of baccarat, which saw its revenue cut by more than half to $53.6m, thanks in part to volume falling 42% and a below-average win rate of just 11%.
By contrast, most of Nevada’s other table games were in positive territory, some of them dramatically so. Blackjack led the way with $108.4m (+13.8%) and craps improved 1.9% to $34.8m but roulette shot up a weighty 43.5% to $41.7m, the game’s second-highest total on record.
Over at the sportsbooks, revenue was down 4.8% to $32.5m, largely due to football bettors cashing in $12.2m worth of winners (presumably bettors finally making it back to Vegas for March Madness to redeem their Super Bowl tickets).
The result spoiled a 14.4% rise in betting handle to $596.8m, significantly higher than the $372.4m in total wagers that New Jersey’s licensed sportsbooks handled last month. However, on Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy boldly told attendees at the Betting on Sports America conference that his state’s sports betting market could “overtake [Nevada] as early as next year.”
March Madness was very good to Nevada’s books, as basketball accounted for a record $495.1m in wagers and revenue of $35.2m, which actually represented a 14.3% drop from March 2018’s result. Baseball revenue was up nearly two-thirds to $3.5m and the ‘other’ betting category jumped 315% to $5.84m. The state’s racebooks brought in $3.7m, down 8.9% year-on-year.