The state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas have been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The sports betting and casino industries are very important in both the city and the state, and they have felt the biggest impact.
Nevada is the gambling capital of the United States, but even Las Vegas was unable to survive the pandemic. Both the sports betting and casino industry saw record low numbers in March, and even worse numbers are expected in April.
Governor Steve Sisolak has extended the stay-at-home order into May, and both industries are looking at the worst two month stretch of all time. A major rebound is expected once the state opens back up, but the months of March and April will be felt for an extremely long time.
Sports Betting Handle Falls 76 Percent
The sports betting industry was sure to take a major hit as almost all major sports were shut down for at least half of March. Sportsbooks lost the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which is one of the biggest draws for sportsbooks in the entire year.
The state of Nevada has reported that the sports betting handle decreased by 76 percent from March 2020 to the numbers produced in March 2019. Live sports in the United States had shut down for at least half of March, which was a major reason for the low numbers.
Sports betting handle hit just $141.1 million in Nevada in March, which was way down from the $596.8 million in March 2019. The numbers last March were the highest ever until the state finally eclipsed the $600 million mark in November 2019.
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament accounted for almost $500 million of the state’s sports betting handle in 2019, and the tournament left a huge void with sportsbooks in 2020.
Mobile sportsbooks in Nevada did see a surge in sports betting in March, as mobile sports betting accounted for 63 percent of all the handle in March. With casinos shut down as early as March 12 in the state of Nevada, bettors were left to bet on sports through mobile sports betting apps.
Basketball was the top sport that was bet on in the state of Nevada during March. The total handle wagered on basketball games totaled close to $105 million during the first two weeks of the month.
Casinos See Worst Month in Two Decades
Casinos in the state of Nevada were forced to close on March 17, and it led to one of the worst months in the Nevada casino industry. Casinos won just $618.1 million during March, which was the lowest monthly total in over two decades.
Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip saw an even bigger decrease in profits in March, which was basically cut in half. Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip saw a 45.6 percent drop in profits during March, totaling just over $300 million in total winnings.
Las Vegas casinos had earned more than $1 billion in winnings over three straight months, which set a record in the industry. February 2020 was the best February in the state of Nevada’s legal gaming industry, and they appeared to be set to smash the previous records for March.
The table game, baccarat, saw one of the biggest declines in total revenue. The federal government placing extreme travel restrictions on residents from China was viewed as the number one reason for these changes.