Nevada gambling revenue down 3 percent in March

AP News
Posted: Apr 28, 2016 4:32 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada gambling revenue dropped 3 percent in March compared with last year, weighed down by bettors playing less baccarat and casinos having a less-lucky month in slots and sports betting.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Thursday that the state's casinos won $922 million in March, down from $951 million in March 2015. Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue was down 4 percent to $487 million last month, and downtown Las Vegas winnings were down 4 percent to $51 million.

"I think we expected a little bit more this month, but it didn't happen," said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst with the Gaming Control Board.

March brought big events to Las Vegas including a UFC 196 fight and a Justin Bieber concert, and March 2015's gambling revenue wasn't particularly impressive as a comparison month. But casinos were up against a less-favorable calendar last month that included one less Sunday.

The picture was rosier in the smaller markets up north. Reno casino revenue was up 1 percent at $47 million, and South Lake Tahoe revenue was up 23 percent with $17 million in March.

Casino winnings were down both in the slots and in the tables and games categories. Baccarat revenue was down 3.5 percent as players put out the lowest amount of money on the game since April 2013, but casinos kept a higher share of it compared with last year.

Baccarat, which is favored by high rollers from Asia, has been declining lately amid an anti-corruption campaign in China.

Sports books faced the opposite problem as baccarat. Players bet a record $458 million in March, mostly on basketball, but sports books kept only 2.1 percent of that, compared with the 4.5 percent they kept last March.

Casinos won about $617 million on slot machines last month, which was down about 3 percent year-over-year mostly because machines kept less of the money than they did last March. Bettors wagered $9.3 billion in slots in March, down about half a percentage point from last year.

The state collected almost $73 million in tax money based off the winnings. That's down 8 percent from the same time last year.