Nevada March Gaming Revenue Down With April Expected To Be Worse

Posted on April 30, 2020

It feels like a year ago that Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos to close to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the state. However, that was not even two months back. Nevada gaming revenue for March doesn’t look pretty even though casinos were open for two weeks.

Looking forward, April will be even worse as casinos remained closed for the entire month. Only four sportsbook apps and one poker website were operating for the month.

March Gaming Revenue

Nevada gaming revenue in March dropped nearly 40% to $618.1 million. That’s down from $1.022 billion a year ago according to the monthly report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Vegas Strip was hit hardest. Gaming revenue for Vegas Strip casinos fell 45.6% to $299.9 million. For comparison, downtown Las Vegas casinos only saw gaming revenue decline by 25.9% from last year to $43.45 million.

Sports Betting Crushed

March is typically one of the best months of the year for Nevada sportsbooks thanks to the first weekend of March Madness being such a popular event to watch and wager on. The Nevada Gaming Control Board doesn’t separate college sports from professional sports so it’s difficult to get an exact amount of money wagered on the college basketball tournament. Anecdotally, wagering for the entire NCAA basketball tournament is usually close to the Super Bowl.

Sports betting took a massive hit with the cancellation of all major professional sports including the NCAA basketball tournament. The sports betting handle in March was just over $141 million. That’s a massive decrease from 2019 when the sports betting handle throughout the state was $596 million.

The decrease in the amount of money wagered is one thing but Nevada sportsbooks only won $1.5 million from those sports wagers. According to ESPN, this is the smallest win for Nevada sportsbooks during March since 1993. Overall, the amount won by Nevada sportsbooks was down more than 95% from last year’s record win during March Madness.

On the upside, mobile sports wagering accounted for just under 63% of the sports wagering handle in March. That’s an increase from just over 50% in February.

Non-traditional sports impact on sports wagering revenue

Much has been made about the Nevada Gaming Control Board approving new sports like table tennis (ping pong) and esports for wagering. These new sports fall into the “other” portion of the Nevada gaming revenue report for sports betting.

According to Legal Sports Report, “other” sports accounted for $21.2 million in wagers placed in March. When April gaming revenue is reported that should be the majority of all sports wagers placed in Nevada.

Looking Forward

March gaming revenue took a hit in March but it will be even worse when April revenue is reported. All Nevada casinos have been closed for the entire month. The only wagering available in Nevada was with four sportsbook apps and WSOP.com.

Gaming revenue could begin its comeback in May Governor Sisolak will reveal his ‘Roadmap to Recovery‘ plan on Thursday. The new plan should include details on when Nevada casinos can reopen.

As we reported last week, the Westgate Superbook app will begin taking wagers in May. If nothing else, this will allow thousands more sports bettors with accounts to place wagers on whichever current and future sports events are available.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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