August gaming revenue figures for Nevada and Las Vegas were posted late last week, and they showed a massive month for the gaming industry. A surge in sports book betting -- due largely to the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight on August 26 -- was the big story, but it wasn't the reason gaming revenue was up.
When a big event like this takes place in Las Vegas it brings people to the sports book, but it also brings people to gaming tables. Here's the real story of the big quarter in Sin City.
The big month in numbers
Highlighting Nevada's 14.9% growth in August to $989.5 million in gaming revenue or the Las Vegas Strip's growth of 21.4% to $545.5 million doesn't really tell the whole story of the month. You have to go into individual games to see what's happening.
The table below outlines the revenue from the three most popular table games in Nevada and the Las Vegas Strip and the revenue from the sports book in August. I've also included year-over-year growth for each game.
|Game||Nevada||Las Vegas Strip|
You can see that sports betting win growth was incredible in August, but that was still a fairly small percentage of the bets placed during the month. Far more money went into twenty-one and baccarat, and even craps on the Las Vegas Strip.
There will still be a windfall to casinos
None of this is to say that casinos won't be the big winners from August. MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) and Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) will likely see a surge in gaming wins for the third quarter given their massive presence on the Las Vegas Strip.
Given the baccarat growth, it's also likely that Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), who cater to the high-end gamblers who prefer baccarat, will have a good quarter as well. They'll see a disproportionate percentage of those gaming dollars, despite the fact that they're on the opposite end of the Las Vegas Strip from the fight.
What really drives Las Vegas
If you want to see why Las Vegas is building more stadiums and wants the NFL, NHL, concerts, and huge fights in the city, the gaming revenue figures from August tell the story. This is a city driven by big events -- and when customers come to town for a sporting event, they may place a bet in the sports book, but they'll also sit down at a gaming table or a slot machine. And that's where the real money is made, which is the real story of the big August gaming numbers.