Nevada casinos close out 2022 with record gaming revenue figures

Nevada Appeal
Nevada casinos close out 2022 with record gaming revenue figures
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Nevada’s casino industry set annual gaming revenue records statewide and on the Strip when November’s figures were counted.

December’s response? “Not so fast.”

Fueled by a single-month record for the Strip in December, Nevada finished 2022 with more than $14.8 billion in gaming revenue, blowing past 2021’s $13.4 billion by 10.5 percent, the state’s Gaming Control Board said Tuesday.

The Strip accounted for more than $8.2 billion of the state’s total in the year, a 17.1 percent increase from the $7.1 billion recorded last year.

December’s Strip revenue total of almost $814.2 million was energized by a special event calendar that included two Las Vegas Raiders games, the PAC-12 championship football game, the National Finals Rodeo and a UFC fight. Slot machine revenue of $405 million and baccarat winnings of $146 million grew the Strip’s December figure by more than 25 percent from the year before.

“The Strip accounted for the majority of the statewide increase in December,” said control board senior economic analyst Michael Lawton. “The state’s combined markets outside of the Strip only increased by 0.2 percent, or $914,000 compared to December 2021.”

Nevada has experienced 22 straight months of $1 billion or more in gaming revenue. During the streak, the state’s monthly gaming revenue total has surpassed Nevada’s previous statewide record of $1.16 billion set in October 2007 in 15 different months, including July 2021’s current single-month record of $1.36 billion.

Lawton suggested the monthly gaming revenue increases may moderate during 2023. The control board told the state’s Economic Forum in December that monthly gaming revenue model predictions for the coming year show a roughly 1.5 percent gaming revenue decline statewide with Strip revenue showing no increase.

“Flattish to moderate growth is good if we keep close to where we are now,” Lawton said. “If we miss by 1 or 2 percent, those are still strong numbers compared to where we were in 2019.”

He said outside variables, such as what the Federal Reserve does with interest rates, will have an effect on Nevada revenues. On the positive side, new special events, such as the inaugural Formula One race in November, could boost gaming revenue totals.

Regardless, Lawton said January and February numbers for 2023 should see an increase from 2022 when results were somewhat blunted because of the Omicron variant.

Gaming revenue increases statewide

In addition to the Strip, nine of Nevada’s 18 submarkets had record revenue totals for 2022, including downtown Las Vegas and the combined areas that make up the Las Vegas locals casino sector.

Clark County saw gaming revenue jump 11.8 percent in 2022 to almost $12.8 billion – which would match the 2007 statewide gaming revenue total that stood as an all-time record until 2021.

Downtown Las Vegas casinos recorded $880.2 million in revenue, up 4.5 percent from a year ago, and the combined locals market topped more than $2.9 billion, an increase of 2.4 percent.

The Boulder Strip, which includes casinos in Henderson, was the state’s only region that saw gaming revenue decline in 2022, though the $966.7 million figure was a less than a 1 percent dip from 2021’s all-time record of $967.5 million. Lawton suggested the market’s revenue was hurt by the timing of slot machine revenue collections because the month ended on a weekend.

“The Boulder Strip market remains very healthy,” Lawton said.

Northern Nevada’s major gaming markets didn’t set records in 2022 but exceeded their 2021 totals. Washoe County hit more than $1 billion for the second year in a row, a 2.4 percent increase. Reno casinos grew revenue by 2.1 percent to $743.8 million.

Sparks, which saw the opening of Legends Bay Casino in August, grew gaming revenue by 3.6 percent to $172.8 million.

Las Vegas visitation still trails pre-pandemic numbers

The record-setting gaming totals on the Strip didn’t translate into visitor volume increases.

Visitation to Las Vegas fell just short of 39 million in 2022, 20.5 percent ahead of 2021, but still trailing the pre-pandemic total of 42.5 million visitors in 2019 by 8.7 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

December saw more than 3.3 million visitors to Las Vegas, an increase of 10.1 percent from a year earlier.

Convention attendance, which was severely diminished after COVID-19 caused cancellations throughout 2020 and 2021 and reduced attendance figures for shows that returned in 2022, fell just short of 5 million. LVCVA officials expressed confidence the 25 percent drop from 2019’s 6.6 million convention attendees would be made up in 2023.

In the statement, the LVCVA pointed toward the openings later in the year of the 3,700-room Fontainebleau Las Vegas on the Strip’s north end, and the $2.18 billion MSG Sphere, a 17,500-seat entertainment venue behind The Venetian. The openings, along with special events, including November’s Formula One race, are expected to make visitation spike.

In 2022, overall hotel occupancy reached 79.2 percent, with 89.3 percent occupancy on weekends. Average daily room rates on the Strip in December reached $187.90, up 38 percent from 2019. For the year, average daily room rates were $182.11, 27.2 percent higher than in 2019.

Record year for sports betting

Nevada’s sports betting industry set a record for revenue of $446.7 million and total wagers of $8.7 billion during 2022, snapping 2021’s previous record. The figures were announced the same day that Massachusetts became the 33rd state with legal sports betting, an industry on which Nevada had a monopoly almost five years ago.

Mobile sports betting continued to expand in Nevada, accounting for almost half of all revenue and $5.9 billion, or 68.3 percent, of all sports wagers. The wagering total increased from 64.6 percent a year ago.

“The continued acceptance of mobile sports wagering by customers is the catalyst for these results,” Lawton said.

Unlike most sports betting states, Nevada still requires that customers register for a mobile account in person at a casino, rather than remotely.

Howard Stutz is a staff reporter for The Nevada Independent covering gaming and tourism. This story was first published Jan. 31 by The Nevada Independent and is republished here with permission. For more Nevada news, including wall-to-wall reporting on the Legislature, visit The Nevada Independent.