Vegas casino

$5.5 billion down in Vegas

Vegas.

You can easily get lost in the maze of hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip for a week. And there’s no shortage of hotel rooms.

For gamblers, getting lost is not a problem. It’s not hard to find a blackjack table or slot machine to place a bet.

The movies introduced me to $10k+ poker table buy-ins. Though it astounds me that even some of the machines in the casinos accept $10, $20 or even $100 minimum bets!

I’ll gamble when I visit. A grand total of $1 each time. I’m about $10 down at this point… but, as a travelstatsman, the fact I’ve lost money does not surprise me — the odds are the odds.

I’m not the only one who has stood looking over a sea of tables and machines and asked the question; how much is the casino making?

Methodology

All casinos in Nevada are required to report to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Each month the Board published figures that include revenues and win rates for the 445 licensed gambling establishments in the State.

I used the most recent report at the time of writing (April 2019) using figures over a year between April 2018 and April 2019.

Results

Number of Slot Machines

Number of Slot Machines Vegas Strip (Apr 2018 - Apr 2019)

Download chart.

Did you know? There are around 65,620 slot machines on the Vegas strip.

Number of Card Tables

Number of Card Tables Vegas Strip (Apr 2018 - Apr 2019)

Download chart.

Did you know? There are over 30 times more Blackjack (Twenty One) tables on the Vegas strip than any other card game!

Las Vegas Strip Revenue

Total Gaming Revenue Strip vs. State (Apr 2018 - Apr 2019)

Download chart.

Did you know? The Vegas Strip earns over $6.5 billion a year in gambling revenues (making up almost 60% of the entire gambling revenue generated in the State).

Revenue per game

Revenue per game Vegas Strip (Apr 2018 - Apr 2019)

Download chart.

Over $1 billion was generated by multi-denomination and $1 slot machines.

Baccarat tables were the only other game to generate $1 billion over the year. This is unsurprising as players have the potential to win serious money because of a small house edge.

Revenue per Unit

Revenue per unit Vegas Strip (Apr 2018 - Apr 2019)

Download chart.

A Sports Pool unit is on average the highest earner for a casino (almost $4 million per unit). Though this is slightly misleading, as gamblers can place bets quickly from a small number of units (just 36).

As there are relatively few Baccarat tables, when compared to slot machines, each table brought in a respectable $3.2 million over the year.

Odds of winning by game

Win % by Game on Vegas Strip (Apr 2018 - Apr 2019)

Download chart.

The lowest odds are generally on the slot machines (where the odds are fixed) and sports pools (where casinos are cautious with odds due to uncertainty) with classic card games offering gamblers the best odds of winning (3-card poker offers a 1 in 3 chance of winning).

Win / loss total value

Winnings / Losses Vegas Strip vs State (Apr 2018 - Apr 2019)

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Of all $6.5 billion bet over the year period on the Vegas Strip, just $0.96 billion went back to gamblers — the overall odds of winning we’re 14.79% across all games.

$10.1 billion was bet in total in Nevada during the same period. Overall odds of winning for the whole State were slightly lower than the Strip at 14.01%.

 

Winnings / Losses Vegas Strip by game (Apr 2018 - Apr 2019)

Download chart.

You can see just how much higher the losses were for slot games (e.g. 1 cent and multi-denomination) compared to table games (e.g. Blackjack and Baccarat). These four games were by far the biggest earners for the casinos between April 2018 and April 2019.

Did you know? $1.3 billion was bet on 1 cent machines (I guess it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re spending). That’s 130 billion 1 cent coins. At a weight of 2.5 grams, that’s around 333,000 tonnes of coins! That said, most of it will have been gambled electronically.

Improvements

Many casinos are traded as public companies and have to disclose detailed information publicly, in addition to the aggregate figures published by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

For example, Wynn Q1 2019 10-Q, 2018 10-K, and press releases all contain detailed information including VIP spend, room revenue, and many other interesting data points.

tl;dr

Gamblers lost over $5.5 billion on the Vegas Strip between April 2018 and April 2019. With an average win rate of 14.79% over all games, gamblers took home $0.96 billion.

Footnotes

  1. Data sources + data used in this post.
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