Nevada books make money in March but overall take down

March lacked a bit of “madness” at Nevada casinos this year, with the Nevada Gaming Control Board announcing a near 11 percent decrease in total gaming wins for the month.

However, sportsbooks continued to see an increase in wagering action during March, which is highlighted by the NCAA basketball tournament.

According to the Nevada GCB, sportsbooks' total gaming wins were up 32.2 percent at 14.6 million, up from 11 million in March 2011. Basketball numbers (which don't differentiate between NCAA and NBA) had a 13.6 percent increase from last March.

"It's a bump in the road," says Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. "We had some table games that didn't perform well, like baccarat and roulette, but the March Madness basketball was very popular and did very well for the sportsbooks."

Nevada casinos earned $854,590,394 in March, which is down 10.86 percent from March 2011 when casinos earned $958,694,504 in total gaming wins.

Clark County, which includes the famed Las Vegas Strip, earned $733,494,215 with $448,683,478 of that coming from casinos on the strip. That number is down 14.91 percent from 2011’s total gaming win of $527,297,151 in March.

The Boulder Strip area suffered the biggest dip in March, falling 16.99 percent ($75,638,647 to $62,787,406) between 2011 and 2012.

Lawton noted that the month ended on a weekend (Saturday, March 31) and that instead of counting money from games like slots and disrupting the busiest times, that money is counted on the following weekday. Those numbers will show up in April's totals.

He also noted that last year's totals got a boost from a big construction convention that was in Las Vegas for March 2011. The convention only comes every three years, leaving the town without a big event to draw casino patrons from this past March.

Just a handful of areas saw an increase in earnings. Mesquite, in Clark Country, took a 7.18 percent jump in total gaming wins, from $11,935,386 in March 2011 to $12,792,336 in March 2012. In Washoe County, North Lake Tahoe went from $1,684,610 to $1,837,314 – a 9.06 percent increase in earnings.

Despite the difference in March earnings, the Nevada GCB still has statewide earnings up 2.16 percent for the fiscal year-to-date (July 1 to March 31), with books’ total gaming wins sitting at $8,132,464,918 in 2012 compared to $7,960,185,677 in 2011.


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