Super Bowl Sports Betting Helps Boost Nevada Revenues

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Associated Press
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Super Bowl Sports Betting Helps Boost Nevada Revenues

LAS VEGAS (Associated Press) — February was a lucky month for Nevada casinos, thanks to excitement over the Super Bowl and an extra day on the calendar for leap year.

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They won $990 million in February, up 8.1 percent compared with the same month a year ago, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday. Gambling revenue from football betting was up 10 percent, in part because the Super Bowl fell several days later than it did last year and wagers rolled in over the course of a full week.

Analysts say the big game is good for casinos overall despite football winnings accounting for less than 1 percent of Nevada's annual gambling revenue and sports betting overall accounting for about 2 percent.

"It's hard to quantify what else it brings in," control board analyst Michael Lawton said. "But I wouldn't discount the Super Bowl."

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Nevada sports books took in a record $132.5 million in Super Bowl wagers for this year's game. They cleaned up after the underdog Denver Broncos upset the Carolina Panthers 24-10. Bettors had generally expected a higher score.

"It was a very good day," Johnny Avello, executive director of the sports book at Wynn Las Vegas, said the day after the game.

Revenue grew 8.3 percent for table games and 7.8 percent for slots, driven by bettors putting out more money and casinos keeping a greater share of the wagers.

All corners of the state saw gains. Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue grew 7.3 percent, to $570 million, last month, while downtown Las Vegas brought in $51 million for a 17 percent increase.

Reno casino revenue was up 6.9 percent, to $48 million, and South Lake Tahoe revenue was up 3.8 percent, to $16 million, in February.

Some of the growth comes because winnings from baccarat, a game preferred by high rollers from Asia, held flat in February. Revenue from the game can swing dramatically and weigh down statewide win totals overall.

Nevada collected almost $51 million in tax money based off February winnings, which is down 12.9 percent from the same time last year.

Several big events in March and April should boost gambling revenue going forward, Lawton said. March Madness is helping sports books this month, while major fights and the grand opening of the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip next month are expected to help bring crowds.

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