A combined $1.3B

Strip casinos drive Nevada to post 15th consecutive $1B+ month in best May ever while locals markets see a dip

Aerial view of Las Vegas.
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Gaming venues operating in the State of Nevada have posted a combined $1.3 billion in gaming revenue for May -the highest ever for that month-, according to data released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The figure is almost 6% above revenue in the same month last year, and 32% higher than the $984.5 million collected in pre-pandemic May 2019. May marks the 15th month in a row in which the state delivers more than $1 billion in revenue.

As expected, the bulk of this revenue corresponded to Clark County, home of Las Vegas, which reported $1.1 billion -or 87%- of the revenue for the month, a 7% increase on a year-over-year basis. The Las Vegas Strip found revenue rising about 12% to $731.5 million, its highest-ever May; while Downtown Las Vegas posted a win of nearly $78.9 million, up more than 5% Y-o-Y.

Table, counter and card games win for May was up 10% Y-o-Y to $430 million, with a win percentage of 14%. Meanwhile, slot machine win was at $870.1 million, a 3.5% increase with a 7% win percentage. 

All in all, Nevada sportsbooks collected $27 million in revenue, a 1% dip versus last May, corresponding to customers winning their bets on a higher percentage. They took in $561.6 million in wagers, a handle increase of more than 15% from 2021. Mobile sports betting continued to dominate and online sportsbooks took in $397.6 million in bets -almost 71% of wagers-; with revenue up by almost 24% to $16.4 million, and baseball being the biggest draw.

Gaming Control Board Senior Economic Analyst Michael Lawton credited double-digit revenue increases from baccarat (up 24%) and table games (up 10.4%) with boosting monthly gaming figures, according to The Nevada Independent. Special events, including the Canelo Alvarez-Dmitry Bivol championship boxing match, the Electric Daisy Carnival and a high-profile concert by the Eagles, helped drive large crowds to the Strip during the month.

“The Strip faced a very difficult comparison versus the growth rate for May 2021,” Lawton told the cited source. “Moving forward, the Las Vegas Strip will be facing stiff comparisons for the remainder of the calendar year,” the expert predicted, while Wells Fargo gaming analyst Daniel Politzer called the Strip’s May gaming revenue total “solid.”

While Las Vegas enjoyed yet another month of success, some of its surrounding areas were not as lucky: Downtown Las Vegas was the only market in Southern Nevada other than the Strip which saw a year-over-year gaming revenue increase. In comparison, North Las Vegas saw a 5% Y-o-Y revenue drop to $25.4 million in May; while Laughlin faced a 3% dip to $46.7 million

While the Las Vegas tourism landscape is enjoying a post-pandemic rebound, the local gaming counterparts are experiencing headwinds. These markets, combined, posted a slight revenue drop of 2% when compared to May 2021.

This has also been the case for other Nevada gaming regions outside Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. South Lake Tahoe saw its revenue drop 14% year-on-year, taking just $17.5 million for the month. Washoe County’s gaming revenue was 4.8% below May 2021 to $87.6 million, while Reno's gaming revenue declined by 4.5% to $62.9 million.

Notably, the May calendar had one less weekend day than a year ago, likely a factor contributing to the lower reported monthly revenues. Still, the first five months of 2022 have led to statewide gaming revenue up more than 22.6% over 2021, which was a record year at $13.4 million. Strip gaming revenue is up a notable 40.2% compared to the past year.

An increase has also been posted in terms of visitor volume in Las Vegas, with the destination seeing more than 3.4 million visitors in May, about 20% up from almost 2.9 million visitors a year ago, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. However, that figure was 7% below May 2019, still lagging behind pre-pandemic years.

Room occupancy was at a solid 82.6%, almost 12% ahead of May 2021. Weekend room occupancy also increased to 91.9%, compared to 87.8% in the comparable period last year. The average room rate on the Strip was almost $176, 38.7% higher than last May.

Post-pandemic recovery can also be seen in Las Vegas airport figures: passenger volume at Harry Reid International Airport during May was at its third-busiest month ever with 4.57 million passengers, according to figures shared by the Clark County Department of Aviation. The volume was 30% higher than May last year.

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