Nevada casino revenue totaled $1.015 billion in January, and while that’s a two percent drop compared to the same month in 2017, it marks the first time the state has eclipsed the 10-digit threshold in a year. It’s the 36th time ever that the Silver State’s casinos have surpassed the $1 billion monthly mark.
January had one fewer weekend day than fell in 2017. The first month of the year was also at a disadvantage, due to New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday in 2017, meaning the holiday was observed on Monday the 2nd and therefore went one day longer last year.
Those small calendar differences are being cited for the two percent year-over-year decline.
“We were facing a very difficult comparison,” Nevada Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton told the Associated Press. “Last January was up 12 percent.”
The Strip was chiefly responsible for the statewide decline, as revenues fell nine percent to $554.8 million. It’s the fourth straight monthly loss for the gaming epicenter following the October 1 mass shooting tragedy.
If Not for Baccarat…
Monthly revenue reports are celebrated when they show strong percentage increases, but quickly dismissed when they do not. Many factors play a role in the results, and in addition to the shorter New Year’s holiday weekend, Lawton says the Chinese New Year moving from January to February in 2018 also slashed gross gaming revenue.
Baccarat, the game of choice for China’s affluent gamblers, plummeted more than 28 percent. The drop in table revenue most impacted the Strip, where Asian travelers more typically stay.
“If you remove baccarat from the equation, total win in the state would have increased by 2.7 percent or $23.6 million,” Lawton concluded.
While analysts attempt to paint a more attractive picture, the reality is that fewer visitors are making their way to Sin City.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) reported on Wednesday that visitation dropped for the eighth consecutive month. The agency said “strong room rates” due to a temporary reduction on occupancies, along with convention schedule changes, were the factors to blame.
Sportsbooks Clean Up
A particularly bright spot in the Nevada casino revenue report for January came from the oddsmakers.
Casino sportsbooks won $25 million, including $14.9 million from basketball and $7.8 million on football. That’s compared to 2017, when the books lost $8.4 million in January. The $25 million win is the second-best January performance on record, behind only a $26 million haul in 2012.
The public typically bets the favorite, and that was just fine with Nevada oddsmakers in January. Underdogs went 9-1 against the spread during the NFL Playoffs. The dogs also covered in the first three New Year’s Day college football bowl games.
Bettors wised up for the Super Bowl, as many went with the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots. That revenue, however, will be included in next month’s report, as the big game took place on February 4.
January’s “other” sports generated a $2.8 million win for the books, a whopping 1,251 percent increase. Sports in the “other” category include the NHL, and with the Vegas Golden Knights now in action, the increase could hint that having pro hockey games being played just steps from the Strip is growing the league’s betting popularity.