Record $439.5 million bet on basketball in March

More money was bet -- and lost -- on basketball at Nevada sportsbooks in March than in any other month in the state's regulated sports betting history.

A record $439.5 million was wagered on basketball, both college and professional, last month, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The books kept a record $41.2 million of the amount bet on basketball, shattering the previous mark set in March 2015 by more than $13 million and making March 2017 by far the most lucrative basketball month ever for the house.

Gaming control does not separate bets on professional and college basketball, lumping them into one "basketball" category. But the betting interest on the NCAA tournament can be seen in the monthly revenue numbers. For example, in February, almost $213 million was bet on basketball at Nevada's books.

Bookmakers estimate that the NCAA tournament accounts for 60 to 80 percent of the amount bet on basketball in March, which also features a bevy of conference tournaments in addition to regular-season NBA action.

The massive March haul comes after a rough stretch to end the football season for the books. In January, the books suffered one of their worst football months ever, losing $8.25 million to bettors.

They bounced back in a big way in March, winning $31.4 million overall, a 225.3 percent increase from March 2016. Leftover football bets from the season that were cashed in March took a $13 million bite out of the basketball profits, but the books had enough to spare.

"I guess, like they say, in the long run, it does even out," Jeff Stoneback, assistant manager for MGM race and sports, told ESPN on Wednesday. "I was just in a meeting and heard that this was our best quarter since 2005."

While Nevada's regulated sports betting industry continues to grow, it remains only a small piece of casino profits. In March, for example, the state's casinos won $273.5 million off penny slots.