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By posting a spectacular haul of $596.8 million in sports betting revenue, Nevada has certainly pushed away concerns about their long term viability with their biggest month in the state’s history.
On the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports betting last year, there have been whispers that Nevada would begin to see a slow drain from their bottom line.
But if March’s staggering numbers show us anything, it is that Nevada has only grown in popularity, especially when it comes to celebrating March Madness.
Fueled, in large part, by the NCAA Tournament, the state’s bookmakers took in over $75 million more in wagers compared to March 2018.
The $596.8 million accepted by the bookmakers in March beats the previous record of $582.3 million in revenue that the state’s sportsbooks took in last November.
In Nevada, sports betting is seen as a small ancillary boost to a casino’s bottom line as table games and slot machines bring home the majority of revenue.
But in March, sports betting revenue eclipsed the total money bet on Baccarat for the first time in 15 years for Nevada casinos.
The sports betting record comes on the heels of the state reporting that Nevada bookmakers accepted over $5 billion in wagers in 2018, the first time in history the sportsbooks reached that threshold in a year.
With the release of the state’s March revenue numbers, it is becoming obvious that rumors of Nevada’s death after the Supreme Court decision have been greatly exaggerated.
After the legal decision by the Supreme Court, CEO’s from Las Vegas’ biggest casinos were claiming their business would not falter.
“(Visitors) will absolutely want to come to Las Vegas to root their team on, whether it’s in a tournament or on TV or actually physically playing,” MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren told AP News in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.
And in Nevada’s first March Madness since that decision, it seems like Murren was right.
There are several factors that continue to make Nevada appealing to out of state visitors.
The first is that despite sports betting being legal in the United States, only six other states have legalized wagering on games.
Another factor is that Vegas still offers travelers a complete experience they cannot get anywhere else.
“The tournament as a whole gets bigger and bigger every year and the in-game and mobile wagering in Nevada has also helped,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said.
“And everything we have to offer in Nevada as a whole, from rooms to entertainment to beautiful race and sportsbooks. This has become the destination for the college basketball tournament,” he continued.
“With the parties and promotions surrounding the tournament, there are probably more guests who contact me to come out and reserve seats that I see every year for the tournament than I do for the Super Bowl.”
As more states begin to make the final walk to legalization, there will certainly be a few experts warning about a Vegas recession but as long as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament remains high in popularity, Nevada will forever be a prime gambling destination.
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