Down against record-setting 2021

Nevada casinos post $1B+ in revenue for 17th straight month; second best-ever Vegas Strip performance

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Nevada’s winning streak is far from over. In July, the state recorded the fourth highest monthly total in its gaming history at $1.31 billion, and the second highest ever on the Las Vegas Strip. Bolstered by visitation to Las Vegas –at its highest since the start of the pandemic–, Nevada gaming has now surpassed $1 billion in revenue for the 17th consecutive month.

July 2022’s revenue is down by 3.2% when compared to the single-month record $1.35 billion posted in July last year, figures from the Nevada Gaming Control Board show. However, last month’s total is 28.4% higher than the gaming revenue posted in pre-pandemic July 2019, showing just how strong the rebound has been for the state’s gambling market.

“We were down this month, yet I don't see any softness—it was down slightly against the all-time high,” said Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst at the Gaming Control Board, as reported by Forbes. “The bar was set really high last July. We didn't hit it, but we still came in with the fourth highest total all-time statewide, second-highest total all time for The Strip.”

While the Silver State is up nearly 16% calendar year to date, Lawton says it's “debatable” whether or not 2022 will beat last year’s revenue. “I think July 2021’s $1.359 billion is safe—I don’t think that will get beat for a long time,” he stated, according to the cited source. “It’s up there with [Joe DiMaggio’s] 56-game hitting streak. It was a perfect storm."

All in all, last year’s record-setting results proved a very difficult comparison. As for the Las Vegas Strip, gaming win in July 2021 totaled $792.6 million –an all-time monthly record–, meaning the $773.3 million in July this year was 2.42% down. Still, that amounts to the second-highest for any month in history, while also accounting for 42.7% more than July 2019.

The picture was a similar one for all segments, which delivered mostly strong results – but not as high as those from last year. Revenues from local Las Vegas casinos fell 3.3% but were 9.8% higher than pre-pandemic July 2019; while the downtown suffered the biggest decline from any Nevada market, falling 15.6% from July 2021 to $60 million this year.

As for volumes by gaming verticals, Nevada did $12.1 billion in slot volume in July, which was the third highest of all time, according to Lawton. The record was set in March 2007, and the second highest amount –as expected– was July 2021. “You can’t say the sky is falling—the state has done $12 billion in slot volume only five times,” he noted.

Card and table games generated $476.4 million, down 1.9% from July 2021. Baccarat brought in $138 million, a 13.4% drop. As for Nevada sportsbooks, wagers amounted to $419.4 million, up 2.3% over July 2021, but revenue dropped 51.3% to only $16.2 million. Mobile betting accounted for 65% of handle and generated $14.5 million in revenue for the state, up 6.3%.

Even though they are mostly down from last year, the results are nothing short of impressive, especially within the context of elevated inflation, higher interest rates, and the looming concern of a potential recession. Visitors flocked to the gaming hub as if none of this was happening: the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Las Vegas welcomed 3.49 million visitors last month – this is the most since casinos reopened in June 2020.

Visitation, however, is at odds with the general trend of gambling figures. While the number of visitors was 5.7% higher than July 2021, it was 5.3% below pre-pandemic July 2019, showing a full rebound still has yet to happen here. As for hotel occupancy, it was at 83.4% in July this year, which is still down 7.7% compared to the same month in 2019.

The dip statewide has brought questions about whether storm clouds are ahead for Nevada’s gaming industry, but Lawton told Forbes it is too early to tell. However, today’s numbers don’t give “a sense of an imminent recession,” and calendar year to date, the state has brought $8.6 billion in gaming, up 15.6% from 2021.

Growth is, however, starting to trend downward, despite the strong demand for gaming and the state’s jam-packed event calendar. “I’m comfortable with the streak of a billion dollars continuing through the fall,” Lawton said. “But we're going to start seeing some choppiness.”