Nevada casinos dip as bettors win, Chinese whales vanish

Nevada casino sportsbooks had their best January on record in terms of betting handle, although betting revenue failed to keep pace.

Figures released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show statewide casino gaming revenue of $984.5m in January, a 3% decline from the same month last year and 1.5% less than the casinos generated in December 2018.

January’s year-on-year decline was even more pronounced on the Las Vegas Strip, where gaming revenue was off 4% to $532.2m. The shortfall was in part due to reduced action by Chinese baccarat whales, who spent 22.4% less at their favorite game, which pushed baccarat revenue down 15% to $95.9m.

The overall ‘table, counter and card games’ category reported revenue falling 9.3% to exactly $326m. Joining baccarat in the dumpster were nearly all of the major table games including blackjack ($90.2m, -7.5%) and craps ($34.7m, -1.6%). Roulette proved an outlier, rising 6.4% to $29.4m, while poker tables improved 6.5% to $9.6m. January’s slots revenue was essentially flat at $658.5m.