Nevada casino closures cut gaming win to lowest total since 1998

Geoff Dornan

The impact of the March 17 mandatory casino closures hit the March gaming numbers like a sledgehammer.

The win amount fell just shy of 40% compared to the $1.02 billion in win gaming licensees reported last March. Total win was $618,129,278. Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton said that is the lowest win amount recorded since February 1998.

The drop in win resulted in a 53.6% decrease in collections in April. The General Fund received just $37.1 million in percentage fees compared to $79.9 million in March 2019. Gaming percentage fee collections are the second largest contributor to Nevada’s General Fund revenue after the sales and use tax.

In addition to the shutdown, Lawton said March was an unfavorable calendar with two fewer weekend days than March 2019.

Game and Table win fell 57% to just $149.5 million. Baccarat win was $43 million, a 19.7% decrease.

Among the different games, sports pools were hardest hit since nearly all sporting events were canceled by the shutdown. Sports pools won $1.5 million in the month, down 95.5% from last year.

Western Nevada casinos were the hardest hit in the state, averaging over 50% down. The single largest percentage decrease was at North Lake Tahoe where gaming win fell 65.2% from just over $2 million last year to $725,545 last month.

The only Washoe County reporting area down less than 50% was the small “Balance of County” area that includes rural casinos, down just 33%.

Reno casinos reported just $32.9 million and Sparks $6.2 million.

South Lake Tahoe was down 43.1% to just over $9 million and the Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County, was down about the same amount, 43.3% to $5.2 million.

Carson Valley reported a 41.6% decrease in slow win to $3.6 million. Game and Table win fell 74.3%.

South Shore reported a 25.7% decrease in slot win but a 66.6% drop in games win for the month. Other Games, the category where smaller markets report Baccarat win, fell 74.1% to $1.5 million.

In Churchill County, total win decreased 40.8% to $1.18 million. Table games generated only $27,000 of that amount.

Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos in the state to shut down in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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