Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered casinos to close in the middle of March. Gaming revenue for half a month was low but the casinos won some money. The month-long closure was extended through April and May. As expected, April gaming revenue in Nevada was down drastically. Nevada gaming win in April was a paltry $3.64 million.
That’s a decrease of 99.6% from a year ago, when Nevada casinos won $936.4 million from gaming. So far, gaming win for the year in Nevada is down 11.43% compared to last year.
Mobile sports betting was the big winner
Casinos were closed for the month of April but there were still four sportsbook apps and a poker website operating. That didn’t help overall gaming revenue for the state too much, but it’s something.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) blacked out the sports betting information in its report. According to the NGCB, the gaming win numbers are not available to the public because of “statutory limitations regarding the confidentiality of financial records.”
The majority of live sports betting in April were fringe events like table tennis and esports. Futures wagering on most sports weren’t reconciled in April. The exception may have been for lingering NFL bets remaining from the 2019 season.
Gaming Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton told CDC Gaming that the negative sports betting win for Nevada casinos were “primarily due to winning sports wagers (football) from prior months which were paid to customers during the month of April.”
He also mentioned that the 2020 NFL Draft could have contributed to loss for Nevada sports betting apps in football. Additionally, Nevada sportsbooks refunded wagers on some events which added to any negative returns for the month.
WSOP.com win isn’t reported
Online poker revenue isn’t broken out in the NGCB reports unless there are three or more websites operating. WSOP.com is the only real-money online poker website currently operating. Anecdotally, online poker should have brought in more revenue for Caesars Entertainment.
The WSOP Spring Online Championships took place during the entire month of April. Seth Palansky, vice president of corporate communications for Caesars Interactive Entertainment told PlayNevada that this sent players to the poker website “in record numbers.”
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Who was playing slot machines?
Casinos were closed in April and all electronic gaming devices (video poker and slot machines) were supposed to be turned off at bars, taverns, gas stations, supermarkets, etc. for the month. Somehow gaming establishments won $78,000 from slot machines in Nevada during the month.
The NGCB report for April shows that there were 20 locations with penny slots and 30 locations with dollar slots throughout the state. However, it appears as though the majority of win from slot machines took place in the Clark County area. This part of Nevada is mostly comprised of the Vegas Strip.
Expect May to be slightly better
Casinos remained closed for the entire month of May, so retail gaming revenue won’t change besides rogue slot machine players. However, mobile sports betting win should be better for a few reasons.
UFC 249 and a couple more UFC Fight Nights were the beginning of traditional sports returning for fans to watch and wager. The month also featured a couple of golf matchups and the return of Bundesliga for international soccer fans.
Westgate SuperBook and South Point both opened their mobile sports betting apps in time for UFC 249. During the month, Circa Sports, William Hill, and South Point set up curbside service. The three sportsbook operators allowed customers to set up and fund new accounts since mobile registration isn’t available. The curbside service also allowed existing customers to fund their accounts.
Mobile sports betting should increase in May thanks to more live sports being played, new sports betting apps coming online, and more ways to fund accounts.