Nevada Casino Revenue For March Reaches Pre-Pandemic Heights

Written By Marc Meltzer on April 27, 2021

Nevada topped $1 billion in gaming revenue for the month of March. This is the first time the Silver State has broken the billion-dollar revenue mark since February 2020. Nevada casinos reported a total gaming win of $1.07 billion for March 2021.

Casinos saw a huge 72.66% increase in revenue compared to March 2020 when Nevada closed casinos in the middle of March to help slow the spread of coronavirus. For comparison casinos reported a gaming win of $618 million last year.

Inside the March 2021 casino numbers

A look inside the numbers shows a great month for sports betting with the return of March Madness. Nevada turned in its third-best month of sports betting revenue with $640.8 million wagered during the month.

March’s sports betting handle was a 354.2% increase from March 2020 when the sportsbook handle was only $141.1 million given casinos closing and major US sports being postponed. Mobile sports wagering accounted for 60.1% of the amount wagered.

Casinos won almost $40 million from the nearly $641 million wagered on sports. That’s a 6.1% hold for the month.

Overall, Nevada casinos won more in every game compared to March 2020:

  • Penny slots: $323.8 million
  • Baccarat: $68.2 million
  • Blackjack: $71.4 million
  • Sports: $39.3 million
  • Roulette: $33.3 million
  • Craps: $26.3 million

March was a huge month for sports betting, topping both roulette and craps gaming wins for casinos. Casinos usually win more from one of both of these games than sports betting.

In a statement accompanying the gaming revenue, Nevada Gaming Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton said “these numbers also benefited significantly from stimulus payments allowing for increased spend by customers across the state including locals and visitors.”

Vegas Strip showing signs of life again

Casinos on the Vegas Strip won $501.4 million in March. This is a 67.2% increase from March 2020.

Casinos on the Vegas Strip have been hit hard since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. These casinos depend more on tourists visiting for work and pleasure than off-strip properties.

Convention traffic will take some time to return. Expect to see this bump later in the year. The regional tourists continue to drive into Las Vegas. They’re now joined by more people flying into Las Vegas in quite some time.

In March, air traffic into McCarran Airport increased almost 25% from March 2020. Gaming revenue and visitation numbers in Las Vegas should continue to increase. Capacity limits are increasing to 80% in May and possibly 100% by June.

More entertainment in Las Vegas is being booked and fans are snapping up tickets quickly. UFC 264 in July sold out in seconds. This is an event that will bring sports fans and bettors to Las Vegas. More live sports and shows for the summer are being announced daily.

Nevada sports betting handle hanging in there

The legalization of sports betting in states outside of Nevada continues to expand. New states continue to legalize sports betting. At the same time, states that have already legalized sports betting are generating more revenue.

Sports betting revenue in Nevada still compares well to other states with larger populations and more user-friendly online gambling registration. The Silver State had a larger handle than Pennysylvania and Michigan for the month.

1. New Jersey: $860 mil
2. Nevada: $641 mil
3. Pennsylvania: $560 mil
4. Michigan: $384 mil
5. Indiana: $317 mil

The death of Nevada sports betting has been greatly exaggerated…for now. Eventually, the states with a much larger population will eclipse Nevada’s sports betting handle. For now, Nevada is hanging tight.

Just over 60% of sports bets were made using a Nevada sports betting app. States like New Jersey and Pennsylvania see about 90% of sports bets placed online via a mobile device or computer. If Nevada wants to increase its mobile handle it could decide to reverse its decision not to allow remote account setup for mobile sports betting.

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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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