ccording to figures released Tuesday morning by the Gaming Control Board, casinos in Nevada reported another month of flat winnings in October, marking a sluggish month in a key index of statewide fiscal health.
Casino house winnings of almost $823 million statewide were down 19.5% compared with the same month a year ago, when casinos on a hot streak reported winning more than $1 billion.
The new October figure was flat from the previous month when the regulatory agency reported so-called “gaming win” million, the Associated Press reports.
Board analyst Michael Lawton noted that October had two additional weekend days compared with a year ago, and that house winnings on table games were the best since operations resumed in June.
Particularly in Las Vegas, casinos continue to face challenges due to limited air travel, lack of mid-week convention business and an absence of arena events and entertainment options.
For the calendar year, the casino win index is down statewide more than 36% and the Las Vegas Strip is down 43.6%.
The state collected $50.5 million in taxes based on the October revenues, down 18.9% compared with a year ago.
Casino taxes are second to sales taxes as a percentage of Nevada’s annual budget. The state has no personal income tax.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tightened coronavirus pandemic restrictions in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases statewide — reducing capacity limits for restaurants, bars, gyms, and casinos to 25% or 50 people, whichever is less.
The Gaming Control Board's figures also show sportsbooks’ October win of $42.4 million from bettors was down 11.49% from October 2019, but the overall sports betting handle was $659.6 million in October, an increase of 21% from the previous monthly record of $614.5 million last October.
The $441.2 million handle on football also set an all-time monthly record, as did the $376.9 million in mobile wagers (which accounted for 57.1% of the overall handle).
Mobile wagering, which has been slow to take hold here in Nevada -- at least compared to other states that came into the legal landscape after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting -- is credited with helping handle figures moving upward despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vast majority of the October profits came from football betting as the books won $32.6 million from bettors, an increase of 24.53% from October 2019. The “parlay card” category -- which is mostly football -- also showed a profit of $3.86 million. That was down 14.44% from October 2019, but the hold was a whopping 39.89%.
Baseball added another $5.18 million to the books’ coffers as the MLB season came to a close, though that was down 54.87% from last October, VSiN reports.
The books “lost” $1.08 million on hockey and $189,000 on basketball, but those were mostly due to future bets and refunded wagers from the long seasons that ended Sept. 28 with the Stanley Cup Finals and Oct. 11 with the NBA Finals.
On the casino side, gaming win was down for the eighth straight month in Nevada. Casinos still won more than $822 million from gamblers in October, but that was down 19.5% from October 2019. Twenty One (aka “blackjack”) was down nearly 35%, roulette was down 34%, craps was down 13% and so on. That confirms the anecdotal evidence of the rare times I walk through casinos these days on the way to the sportsbook and I see tons of empty table games and the few blackjack players separated by plexiglass partitions. It’s surreal and a far cry from pre-pandemic activity.
For those interested, New Jersey again topped Nevada in sports betting handle and win for the month as its nearby population base seems to have pushed it past Nevada for good (though that could change if New York ever fully legalizes sports betting). New Jersey set a new national record for handle for the third straight month at $803 million, topping last month’s record $748.5 million by 65%. New Jersey’s win was $58.5 million, an increase of 26% from October 2019 with a hold of 7.2%.