Data released Monday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show casinos statewide earned about $1.03 billion from gamblers in March, a 3.4 percent year-over-year increase. The so-called “gaming win” increase came in a month that saw an exceptionally strong baccarat performance and had a favorable calendar with an additional weekend day over March 2017 and a series of events.
“That’s good news. Absolutely, good news,” Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the control board, said of the statewide winnings. “… A billion dollars, that’s a big deal.”
He said the longest billion-dollar streak lasted eight months, from October 2006 to May 2007.
Game and table winnings, which included baccarat, were $381 million, an increase of 13.5 percent when compared to March of last year. Winnings specifically from baccarat – the card game that can be a windfall or whiplash for casinos – increased to $117.2 million, up $58.8 million or 110.6 percent. Baccarat volume was $835.8 million, up $258.4 million or 44.8 percent.
Lawton said the statewide total win without baccarat would have actually decreased 2.7 percent or $25.4 million.
The calendar of events for last month included the UFC 222 show, a Kid Rock concert at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and performances by Chris Stapleton at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and in Laughlin, Nevada.
The agency responsible for promoting Las Vegas on Tuesday also reported the city saw a decrease in visitation of 0.9 percent in March. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported that more than 3.7 million people visited the destination and attributed the drop to a mega convention rotating out of the city for the year.
The data from gambling regulators show casinos on the Las Vegas Strip last month saw winnings jump 9.1 percent to about $574 million, while casinos in downtown Las Vegas reported the sharpest decline among the markets monitored across the state. Those casinos reported revenue of about $54 million, down 14.2 percent.
Winnings also decreased in Stateline, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. Revenue there was about $14.6 million, down 12.9 percent.
Lawton said sportsbooks won $34.2 million last month, up 8.7 percent from the same period last year. Sports fans wagered a total of $521.6 million, a record high for the month of March.
“Obviously, that was driven by basketball,” Lawton said. “Basketball betting volumes were $436.6 million, that’s an all-time record for basketball for any month ever, and of course, a lot of that activity was driven by the NCAA basketball tournament.”
The state benefited with about $75.8 million in percentage fees based on the taxable revenues generated in March.