Nevada Gaming Revenue Climbs in May, But NBA Hurts Sportsbooks

Posted on: July 2, 2017, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: July 1, 2017, 12:28h.

Statewide Nevada gaming revenue totaled $991.6 million in May, a 3.5 percent increase on the same month in 2016. The data also marks the Silver State’s third-straight monthly gain, adding to the excitement that the gaming industry is headed in the right direction after several rather turbulent years.

Nevada gaming revenue basketball betting
Golden State’s Kevin Durant had perhaps the best May of his life, but basketball betting dealt a record blow to Nevada gaming revenue. (Image: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

May’s gaming win is the second-highest mark in 2017. Nevada casinos kicked off the year with a $1 billion take in January, a 12 percent year-over-year gain.

Like so many industries in the US, the so-called “Great Recession” during the late 2000s dealt a devastating blow to Nevada tourism. But now more than half a decade into recovery, there’s plenty of reason to be bullish on gambling in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada.

“We were up … $33.7 million,” Nevada Gaming Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton told the Las Vegas Sun. “Overall, it was a very positive month. I’m pleased with the results and optimistic for the future.”

All Around Good News

In terms of percentage gains, Downtown Las Vegas has been the hottest locale in Nevada for gaming in 2017. May was no different.

The bustling Fremont Street area reported total gaming win of $55.23 million, a nearly 10 percent jump on 2016. Over the last three months, Downtown is up almost 18 percent.

The strong data more than justifies Derek Stevens’ decision to further invest in Downtown Las Vegas. The D Casino owner is currently developing plans to revitalize the western end of the Fremont Street Experience by renovating the former Las Vegas Club and Mermaid properties.

But it’s not only the Downtown region that’s performing well. The Strip posted total gaming win of $546.8 million in May, a three percent ascent compared to a year earlier. The main drag is now up 2.6 percent over the last three months, and 3.5 percent dating back to last June.

Sportsbooks Shoot Air Ball

Casinos won big during the month of May in Nevada, and sports bettors did, too.

The biggest blemish on the Nevada gaming revenue report comes from the sports pool’s basketball section. The state’s 190 sportsbooks lost over $4.4 million on NBA betting alone, a record loss.

“It was a bloodbath,” Lawton told ESPN. “Worst basketball loss in state history.”

Overall, oddsmakers still came out on top, largely thanks to a strong performance in baseball. The house hasn’t lost money now in 46 months.

Led by Golden State and Cleveland, the two teams that met in the NBA Finals, the favorites shined during this year’s NBA Playoffs. Routinely covering spreads, bettors enjoyed a slam dunk performance in May.

June might not be any better for the oddsmakers in terms of basketball. The highly watched and bet rubber match between the Warriors and Cavaliers went in the favorites’ favor, and the series saw spreads covered in at least three of the five games (depending on the sportsbook).

Regardless of their losses on the NBA, oddsmakers still made money on basketball this spring. From the NCAA’s March Madness through the end of May, basketball betting has delivered a $40.7 million win for sportsbooks in Nevada.