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Nevada's April gaming report emptier than even expected

By Dave Tuley  ( senior reporter) 

Nevada’s gaming figures are always released at the end of the following month, so with all of the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos closed since March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all knew April’s report was going to have a lot of blank spaces.

That’s what happened, but what we didn’t expect was a lot of the figures – including the win/loss totals and hold percentages from the state’s sportsbooks that we’re most interested in – to be redacted (blacked-out like you’d expect to see in an FBI report with sensitive government information). The report that was sent out to the media by the state’s Gaming Control Board was accompanied by the following note:

“Due to the extremely limited amount of reported gaming revenue for the month of April 2020 and statutory limitations regarding the confidentiality of financial records, several portions of the Monthly Revenue Report have been redacted.”

While Nevada’s casinos were all shuttered in April, four sports betting companies continued with their mobile apps: Caesars Palace, MGM Resorts, Circa Sports and William Hill. Also redacted were figures for the category called “Card Games” which is for internet poker. The only poker app in business in April was (a division of Caesars, a publicly traded company).

“The vast majority (nearly 100%) of revenue recorded in April was the result of mobile sports betting and interactive poker which were not suspended during the month of April or May,” GBC senior research analyst Michael Lawton stated in a follow-up email to VSiN. “It was necessary to redact information contained in the detailed Monthly Revenue Report for April 2020 in a manner that would adequately preserve the confidentiality of an individual licensee’s revenue. This was required under NRS 463.120(4)(a).”

In layman’s terms, that means that since Caesars’ poker figures could have been determined if both sports and poker revenues were published, the GBC was required to black those out.

There was a bottom-line profit of $3.568 million combined between sports betting and poker (and holding 20.69 percent of bets), but we’re left guessing how much of each.

Assuming did better-than-average business in April (I personally played and contributed more in raked pots than usual on poker while sitting at home during the month), the sports betting win was probably lower than the $2.6 million won by New Jersey sportsbooks in April as the Garden State had more mobile apps operating and handled $54.6 million in wagers.

The website estimated that 40.9% of New Jersey’s handle was in the “other” category that included table tennis, darts and esports. The biggest “major” sports event of the month was the NFL Draft on April 23-25. LegalSportsReport estimated that New Jersey books handled $4.4 million on the draft this year, five times more than in 2019.

The other interesting and notable aspect of Nevada’s April figures was that the state’s casinos “won” $102,000 on penny slots and “lost” $100,000” on dollar slots even though all gaming equipment was ordered shut down.

Lawton explained: “Any activity (gaming win outside of mobile sports betting and interactive poker) from slot machines, table games and counter games (including horse racing) are the result of adjustments made by licensees, winning sports tickets paid in April from prior months and the inclusion of expired tickets into revenue (slots and horse racing).”




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