Nevada Gaming Enjoys Record Start To 2023 But March Overall Revenue Falls

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04/26/2023
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Highlights

  • Nevada claimed a $3.82 billion gaming win in Q1 2023
  • Slot machines broke a monthly record for total amount risked
  • Low returns from the baccarat table hindered the potential for year-to-year revenue growth

Nevada, home of America’s gambling epicenter, Las Vegas, just set a new quarterly record for gaming revenue.

The $3.82 billion gaming win across the first three months of 2023 narrowly beat out the previous quarter’s record of $3.81 billion, set during the fourth quarter of 2022. The final month of the quarter, March, also marked the 25th consecutive month that at least $1 billion was earned in revenue.

Despite the massive haul, Nevada was actually down year-to-year in March— $724.6 million to $746.2 million in March 2022.

Sports betting keeps churning

All of the information was released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).

Industry experts are not concerned by the decline in year-to-year revenue. Michael Lawton, a senior economic analyst working with Nevada, said March 2022 was the second-highest-earning month in the state’s history and created a “very difficult comparison.”

But while state revenues fell 3.2% year-to-year, the yearly revenue is up 7.75%. Las Vegas strip revenue also increased by 12.4% compared to March 2022, according to Deutsche Bank.

Legal sportsbooks took home $43.9 in revenue, a $6.9 million (18.8%) increase from last year. However, they also had a $33.2 million-lower handle (3.8%) compared to the $863 million posted in March 2022. $531.7 million of the handle (64.1%) was placed through a mobile app or web page, down $44.6 million (8.7%) on the year prior.

March is one of the busiest times of the year for sportsbooks because of March Madness. Part of the Sweet 16 was played in Vegas for the first time in many years because of a previous ban implemented due to the prevalence of local gambling.

While no Nevada teams were viable betting options in the tournament, nearby San Diego State University made program history by reaching its first national championship game (that game was held in April, and betting patronage was not reflected in the first-quarter earnings).

Super Bowl betting was included in the 1Q 2023 revenue total. The game was played in one of Nevada’s neighboring states, Arizona, in February between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.

At the casino

Nevada is a prominent spot for sports fans and bettors alike. Just look at its acquisition of teams such as the Las Vegas Raiders, Las Vegas Aces, and Las Vegas Golden Knights, and if that’s not enough, consider that it is hosting the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix for the first time this year and recently revealed that it will house the Oakland Athletics by 2027.

Sports betting is not the only money-maker for Las Vegas gaming, though. Slot machines located in business throughout the Vegas strip accumulated $422.3 million in revenue in March, a $26.3 million (6.6%) increase Y2Y.

Total slot machine spending exceeded $5.2 billion, a $538.5 million (11.6%) increase year-to-year. Both the revenue and total gambling figures broke monthly records set in October of last year.

Baccarat revenue decreased significantly, which is why Nevada went down in overall year-to-year revenue despite other promising figures. The total win for all other games increased $41.6 million (6.7%), but the total gaming win dropped to just 2% higher than in March 2022 including the baccarat figures.

Casinos working outside of the strip also had productive starts to the year, posting a combined 5.1% increase in gaming revenue. Participation in gambling both on the strip, at sportsbooks, and at casinos is reminiscent of and in many cases beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Travel also continues to rebound from the decline forced by the pandemic. Harry Reid International Airport welcomed 4.93 million travelers in March, 15.6% more than it did the year prior. The 4.93 million figure was also the second-highest for a single month behind only October 2022, which was the month the slot machines saw so much business.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.

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