Nevada set a quarterly record in gaming win during the first three months of 2023, but big losses at the baccarat tables resulted in a rare year-over-year monthly dip in March.
The Las Vegas Strip’s $724.6 million in revenue declined 2.9% from the $746.2 million in March 2022, paving the way for Nevada’s statewide revenues to fall 3.2% to $1.31 billion, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Michael Lawton, a senior economic analyst with the state, said the March 2022 win total was the second highest in state history and represented a “very difficult comparison” for March 2023. This is only the third monthly year-on-year decrease recorded by the state in the past 12 months. For the year, Nevada gaming revenues are up 7.75%.
The statewide quarterly total win of $3.82 billion is the highest of all time, beating the previous record of $3.81 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022. It marked the 25th consecutive month of $1 billion or more in gaming win statewide.
Despite the monthly drop off in March, the Strip’s revenue for the first quarter rose 12.4% year-over-year, according to Deutsche Bank.
For March, the Strip’s slot win totaled $422.3 million and increased 6.6% or $26.3 million from March 2022. Coin-in totaled $5.2 billion and increased 11.6% or $538.5 million. The slot win and coin-in totals represent records for the Strip, beating the previous records set in October 2022.
Blame baccarat for the March downturn.
Compared to March 2022, the Strip’s baccarat win of $63.2 million decreased $63.3 million or 50%, and baccarat drop of $604.5 million decreased $30.5 million or 4.8%. Strip total gaming win excluding baccarat increased 6.7% or $41.6 million, according to the Gaming Control Board. Statewide total gaming win excluding baccarat increased 2% or $24.2 million.
Lawton said baccarat volumes were down slightly at 5.6%, but the month’s hold percentage was 10.35% versus a high 19.96% in March 2022.
Nevada continued to record gaming win amounts in excess of pre-pandemic levels, Lawton said. Statewide total win was 28.3% or $289.3 million higher than in March 2019 (March 2022 increased 32.5% versus March 2019). Clark County alone has recorded 11 straight months of gaming win in excess of $1 billion.
As for casinos that serve locals, their gaming revenue dropped 2.8% in March. For the quarter, their revenue rose 5.1%, Deutsche Bank reported.
Washoe County, which dealt with bad weather in March, saw its gaming revenues drop 6.1% to $79.5 million. Sparks was the exception with an increase of 5% over March 2022 after the opening of Legends Bay Casino in August.
“The weather in Northern Nevada this year has been a key reason for the declines,” Lawton said. “It would appear that Mother Nature and not macroeconomic pressures have been the only contributor to consistent declines in certain markets in Northern Nevada. Sparks benefits from the opening of Legends until the property’s results are annualized later this year.”
A bright spot in Southern Nevada in March is downtown Las Vegas, where gaming revenues of $87.4 million were 1.15% higher than March 2022. Mesquite had a 3.0% increase.
The decline in gaming numbers in Las Vegas came despite strong visitation during the month. Harry Reid International Airport reported 4.93 million passengers in March – 15.6% higher than the 4.27 million in March 2022 – and the second highest month in history behind the 5.18 million in October 2022.
Statewide, the March games win of $405.6 million decreased 10.3% or 46.6 million, and games drop of $3.1 billion increased 0.03% or $779,000 from March 2022. Games hold was 13.09% versus 14.60% last year, Lawton said.
Nevada sportsbooks won $43.9 million, up 18.8% or $6.9 million compared to March 2022 on a hold percentage of 5.28% versus 4.28% last year. Sportsbooks handled $829.8 million, down 3.8% or $33.2 million compared to March 2022 when $863.0 million was wagered statewide, Lawton said.
Mobile wagers totaled $531.7 million, down 8.7% or $44.6 million and accounted for 64.1% of total wagers.
Statewide slot win of $906.5 million increased 0.4% or $3.4 million and coin-in of $12.5 billion was up $427.4 million or 3.6%. Slot win percentage was 7.26% versus 7.49 in March 2022, Lawton said.
March 2023’s slot win total represents a new record beating the previous high set last March, which was $903 million, Lawton said.
This month’s slot coin-in total is the second highest total, just shy of the record set in December 2022 which was $12.6 billion, Lawton said.