Nevada casinos enjoyed last month of action pre-virus shutdown


nevada-casino-gaming-betting-revenue-february-2020Nevada’s casinos may be shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but at least they had a decent sending-off party in February.

Figures released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) show statewide casino gaming revenue hitting $1.04b in February, just over 3% higher than the same month last year but essentially flat from January 2020’s result.

The statewide gains came despite casinos on the Las Vegas Strip reporting gaming revenue up only 0.75% to $596.2m and Clark County rising by only 0.54%. It was a different story outside the county, led by Reno’s casinos, which shot up over 30% to $57.8m.

Statewide slots had a good month, with revenue up 6.5% to $648.5m, while the ‘table, counter and card games’ segment fell 2.2% to $394.1m. Baccarat reported revenue falling 11.5% to $116.9m, but that was still enough to fend off blackjack ($104.3m, +8.3%) for top honors, while craps ($33.6m, -10.8%) and roulette ($33.4m, -4%) were both in the dumps. Poker enjoyed another surprisingly solid showing, rising 14.6% to just under $10.7m.

Turning to the state’s sportsbooks, total betting revenue was up 6.3% year-on-year to just over $38m, nearly twice the sum the books brought in this January, as betting hold hit a respectable 7.74%. Betting handle came in just under $492m, about $50m below January’s result.

Football claimed the betting revenue crown with $15.15m, up 37.6% year-on-year, while basketball ranked second with $13.1m (-33.9%). ‘Other’ sports brought in $6.1m (+31%), hockey kicked in just over $3m and parlay cards anted up another $788k. The state’s pari-mutuel race books were down 4.1% to $3.1m.

The NGCB finally began breaking out separate mobile wagering numbers in January’s report, which showed mobile accounting for 49% of handle and 55% of revenue. February’s stats show mobile handle of $218.7m (44.5%) and revenue of $9.9m (26% of the total), as mobile win came in at a sub-par 4.54%.

Nevada’s overall betting revenue dramatically outpaced its rivals in New Jersey, who managed revenue of only $17m in February, although the Garden State narrowly won the betting handle battle with nearly $495m. New Jersey’s mobile betting activity also continues to seriously outperform Nevada’s.

With football over and virtually all other major leagues at a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nevada’s sportsbooks caught a break on Wednesday when the NGCB approved them taking certain wagers – head to head, match winner and season winner – on the CS:GO’s ESL Pro League Season 11: North America, which got underway Thursday.

Nevada’s sportsbooks have dabbled with eSports betting in the past but the need to put something – anything – up on the mobile betting boards has never been more acute. Last week, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos in the state to shut for 30 days to minimize further spread of the coronavirus, leaving mobile betting (and online poker) the only game in town.