Basketball bettors held their own during a record-setting March Madness at Nevada sportsbooks.
$343.5 million was wagered on basketball—both college and pro–in March at the state’s books. That’s the most ever, according to Michael Lawton, Senior Research Analyst of the Nevada Gaming Control, and approximately $19 million more than was bet on basketball last March. But the books kept way less of it.
The books held just 5.65 percent of the money bet on basketball in March, the second lowest hold percentage since 2004. The average hold percentage for March over the previous 10 years was 7.5 percent. The $19.7 million win was the smallest in the last three years.
“We did not have a good March,” said Jeff Stoneback, assistant manager at the MGM Mirage “I would characterize the NCAA tournament as fair, but we got beat up pretty good in the conference tournaments.”
Bettors lost less this season, but the books are still the overall winners. Nevada sportsbooks have never had a losing March on basketball since the NGC began tracking monthly revenue numbers in 2004.
Because the NCAA tournament spans into April, it’s difficult to accurately estimate how much was wagered on the tournament by itself. You can see its impact, though, by looking at February’s numbers, when the state’s books took only $153 million in basketball bets.
In February, a record $119.4 million was wagered on the Super Bowl in Nevada books. The record handle this March adds to a trend of a growing sports betting market in Nevada.
Stoneback estimated the average price per ticket on the tournament was up “20-25 percent.”
Overall, the books won $12.8 million in March, a number impacted by a $9 million loss on football, caused by futures tickets cashed during the month.
Nevada Casino March Winnings
(Source: NGC. Numbers in millions.)
Roulette: $30, 696
Sports Pool: $12.8