Nevada’s winning streak shows no sign of slowing down: the Silver State has now reported its 18th consecutive month of more than $1 billion in gambling revenue. According to the lastet data released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Thursday, the state collected $1.2 billion from its casinos in August, a figure 26.7% up from the same month in pre-pandemic 2019.
The impressive August results have pushed the year-to-date state revenue 14% ahead of 2021’s record performance. As for the individual month, it was ahead by 3.5% from August 2021, which further proves how quickly the industry has been recovering from the worst days of the pandemic.
Casinos on the renowned Vegas Strip collected the lion’s share of August’s revenue, at $660 million, up 5.2% from last August. “The Strip is carrying the load,” said Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst at the Nevada Gaming Control Board, as reported by Forbes.
But the Strip wasn’t alone in delivering solid results. After a four-month downturn, the markets outside of the Strip are back up. With monthly revenue decreases between April and July, the state’s other gambling jurisdictions grew slightly in August, by 1.6%.
As for gaming verticals, slot machines expectedly brought the most revenue at $847.1 million, up 2.5% from last year. Meanwhile, players lost $361.4 million in table games, a 6% increase, with baccarat coming in third with $96.7 million, up by 4%. As for Nevada sportsbooks, they collected $16.1 million, up 12%, with mobile betting accounting for $9.9 million of the total.
While August gaming win was up on a year-over-year basis, revenue for the month was about $100 million down from July, a month in which the Silver State posted $1.3 billion in gaming revenue. However, the trend is not a surprising one, with August typically seen as a slower month, partly due to the extreme heat in the state. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, August gambling revenue is normally down about 9% compared with July, says Forbes.
With the economy potentially heading towards a recession, Lawton said Nevada has a solid buffer due to all the growth it has experienced during the rebound: even if gambling revenue drops 10%, the state will still be above pre-pandemic levels. The expert said the Silver State would have to “fall off a significant cliff” to be lower than 2019 levels, an unlikely scenario.
While Nevada’s streak may eventually come to an end, that doesn’t seem likely to occur in the near future, with Lawton saying the state could hit $1 billion-plus in revenue through the rest of 2022. “I don’t see an imminent drop-off. There’s no softness on the horizon,” he noted.
And he’s right: thus far, Nevada is on pace to beat its record of $13.4 billion in annual gambling revenue, which it posted in 2021. Through August this year, Nevada has collected $9.8 billion, a 14% increase compared to the same period last year. Strip casinos in particular are seeing solid results: through eight months, they are almost 25% ahead of 2021’s record $7 billion in revenue.
J.P. Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff also shared an optimistic viewpoint, telling investors: “Broadly speaking, demand was resilient in light of macro concerns and higher gas prices impacting the consumer,” as reported by The Nevada Independent.
Lawton credited special events, including concerts at Strip resorts and sporting events at Allegiant Stadium and T-Mobile Arena, as driving visitation and gaming play. “The event calendar continues to impress me along with no sign of a downturn in visitation in the near future,” he noted, as per The Independent.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s latest report supports these claims, with the body reporting that 3.2 million came to Sin City in August, a 6.4% increase over the past year. However, visitor volume in the gambling hub is still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels, down by 11% when paired against 2019 levels.
Hotel room occupancy reached 76.8% in August, 4% ahead of last year, while occupancy on weekends was 90.1%. Convention attendance was at 406,500, 20.5% higher than August 2021, adding to the eight-month total of nearly 3.2 million.
“Longer term, we see the return of conventions and a strong sports and event calendar in the next couple of years to provide some level of support for Strip gaming revenue and non-gaming revenue,” said Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon in a research note this month.
Next year’s scheduled NCAA March Madness Regional Championship round in April, Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix in November, and Super Bowl LVIII in February 2024 at Allegiant Stadium are expected to act as huge tourism drivers to the state.