Casinos set revenue record; Washoe tops $100M

Nevada Appeal
Casinos set revenue record; Washoe tops $100M
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So much for a gaming revenue slowdown.

Nevada’s casino industry set a single-month record in July with more than $1.4 billion in casino earnings, fueled by elevated revenue from slot machines statewide and the highest hold percentage on baccarat wagers by Strip casinos in 20 years.

After seeing statewide gaming revenue decline in three out of the last four months from a year ago due to challenging year-over-year comparisons, casinos broke the two-year-old, single-month revenue record set in July 2021 of almost $1.36 billion.

The Gaming Control Board said Aug. 30 that Strip casinos also set a single-month gaming revenue record of almost $834.9 million, topping the previous record of $792.6 million, also set in July 2021.

Compared with a year ago, statewide gaming revenue totals increased by 6.7 percent while Strip casino revenues were up 7.9 percent.

Washoe County casinos contributed more than $100.6 million to the overall total – the Northern Nevada market’s highest single-month revenue figure since July 2005.

Michael Lawton, the control board’s senior economic analyst, said July brought the state’s second-highest table game revenue total in a single month of $513.1 million, while a packed events calendar and the timing of the July 4 holiday contributed to the record totals.

J.P. Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff said July had a more favorable calendar than a year ago with two extra weekend days.

For the first seven months of 2023, statewide gaming revenue is up 4.1 percent compared with that period of 2022. Nevada had a record $14.8 billion in total revenue last year. Strip gaming revenue is up 6.5 percent so far this year; it had an $8.2 billion record total in all of 2022.

Washoe County gaming revenue is still down less than 1 percent for the year’s first seven months — largely attributed to the unseasonable weather conditions the area experienced between January and April.

With July in the books, Nevada’s streak of $1 billion or more in gaming revenue reached 29 months despite seven reporting markets showing single-digit percentage declines.

Visitation in July tops 3.5 million

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said July tourism exceeded 3.5 million people, the highest total for the month since before the pandemic. The figure was 1 percent higher than July 2022 and, for the first seven months of the year, visitation is 8.1 percent ahead of last year with more than 23.8 million visitors.

The LVCVA said hotel occupancy reached 85.2 percent in July while weekend occupancy was up to 92.6 percent. Both figures were increases of just under 2 percent.

LVCVA Vice President of Research Kevin Bagger wrote in a report that year-over-year growth in average daily room rates had stabilized after “the dramatic post-pandemic surges” a year ago. The average daily room rate on the Strip was $173.49 in July, up 1.8 percent, while downtown room rates averaged $91.20 a night, down 4 percent.

Convention attendance was down almost 17 percent in July but is still up more than 25 percent compared to the first seven months a year ago.

In a note to investors, Wells Fargo Financial gaming analyst Daniel Politzer said July was “another solid month in Las Vegas, and consistent with recent operator commentary that Strip fundamentals remain strong.”

Special events fuel casino play

Lawton said the month’s special event calendar, which included Strip headliner residencies, international soccer matches at Allegiant Stadium and championship boxing and UFC cards at T-Mobile Arena, helped to propel high-end baccarat play to near-record levels.

Casinos statewide collected more than $193 million in baccarat revenue, a 40 percent increase from a year ago, despite a 1.4 percent decline in wagers to $822.1 million. However, the percentage of wagers held by casinos was 23.5 percent – a sizable jump compared to 16.6 percent held in July 2022.

Meanwhile, slot machine revenue statewide was $890.8 million, the third-highest single-month total in state history.

“When you put it all together, we set a new all-time record for the state and the Strip,” Lawton said.

While not records, other statewide reporting markets saw year-over-year increases in July, including downtown Las Vegas – up 8.9 percent to $65.4 million – and Reno, which was up 4.3 percent to $72.2 million.

Nevada’s sportsbooks saw a revenue increase of 55.7 percent to $25.3 million during July, although total sports wagers declined almost 3 percent to $408.2 million. Through the first seven months of 2023, wagering on sports is down 7.7 percent and revenue has declined 13.3 percent.

During July, mobile wagering accounted for 65.7 percent of all sports bets.

The state collected more than $95.7 million in gaming taxes based on the July total, a 5.9 percent increase from a year ago.

Reid Airport sees more than 4.94 million passengers in July

Following its third busiest month on record, Harry Reid International Airport is well on pace to smash last year’s all-time record of 52.6 million passengers.

Through the first seven months of 2023, the airport has seen almost 33.1 million passengers, 13.5 percent higher than the same time period in 2022, according to the Clark County Department of Aviation.

July’s 4.94 million passengers fell just short of May’s 4.95 million figure and was roughly 4,600 passengers higher than March’s passenger total.

October 2022 holds Reid Airport’s single-month record of 5.18 million passengers.

International passenger volume in July closed in on pre-pandemic figures not seen since 2019 and early 2020. The month’s 290,546 international passengers was a 13.5 percent increase from a year ago and the seven-month total of more than 1.8 million passengers is 41.4 percent higher than the first seven months of 2022.

Southwest Airlines has accounted for more than one-third of all passengers traveling through Reid Airport through July with 11.7 million flyers, a 15.2 percent increase from the same seven months of 2022.

This story was published Aug. 30 by The Nevada Independent and is republished here with permission.