The impact of COVID-19 was evident in March, with Nevada casino establishments and other corners of the gaming industry feeling the heat.
Casinos in Las Vegas saw less money come through their doors, primarily because their doors had to shut. Sports betting also endured significant drops.
March’s losses also meant that state operators’ three-month streak of generating $1 billion and above from gambling activity came to an end.
Vegas stripped of its revenue
In Las Vegas, Nevada casino locations were forced to close their doors halfway through March causing revenue to head downwards.
Total money generated on the Las Vegas Strip fell by 45.7%, reaching $299.9 million. Meanwhile, Downtown Las Vegas’ money from gambling fell by 26% and totaled $43.4 million.
As reported by ABC News, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has asked for the city to be able to reopen soon. She made the following plea to Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.
“Being closed is killing us already, and killing Las Vegas, our industry, our convention and tourism business that we have all worked so hard to build.”
The Governor approached reopening the state with caution in a CNN interview on Wednesday night. He also noted that 11 casino union workers had died due to the novel coronavirus.
“We will rebuild our economy,” he said. “Las Vegas will continue to thrive. But I can’t do that if I lose more people.”
Sisolak has extended Nevada’s stay-at-home order until May 15th, but is working on ways to gradually resume normal life. His plan will be titled the ‘Nevada United Road Map to Recovery’.
Sports betting takes a big hit
March was a rough month for sports with major events both in and outside of the US – including March Madness – being cancelled.
Sports betting suffered alongside this, with handle for this vertical nosediving by 76.3% to $143.2 million – compared to $597.045 million in March 2019.
Of March 2020’s sports betting handle figures, $88.9 million was wagered via mobile.
Some NBA games took place at the beginning of the month, which slightly cushioned the blow. $5.9 million was brought in from this sport, with $104.7 million being handled in total. Other sports, including eSports – for which the Sagebush State extended legal betting capabilities – contributed $345,000.
Slots and table games also decline
Slots revenue reached $468.7 million in March, which was a decline of 30.6%. As for ‘table, counter and card games’, earnings dropped by 57% and stood at $149.4 million. Blackjack took the largest portion with $44.2 million, though this was still down by 59%.
Nevada ended March 2020 with $618.1 million in revenue across all verticals, both on and offline. This was 39.6% lower than March 2019’s $1.02 billion.
How are Nevadan casinos preparing to reopen?
In an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, Sandra Morgan – Chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board – said that plans are being made to reopen. This would be with a limited capacity.
Individual operators have also been considering how they will resume regular service. Boyd Gaming Corp., based in Las Vegas has stated that it will open its properties across the US as soon as it’s allowed to do so.
On an earnings conference call, Chief Executive Keith Smith said that he “doesn’t see a phasing”. However, he also mentioned that financial results will depend on the number of tourists that decide to visit Vegas – especially by air.
4,898 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Nevada at the time of writing on April 30th, with 237 deaths.