18% up from pre-pandemic 2019

Nevada: Gaming revenue surpasses $1B for 19th straight month in September at $1.2B

Aerial view of Las Vegas.
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Nevada has exceeded $1 billion in gambling revenue for 19 straight months, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s latest report. Casinos in the Silver State posted $1.2 billion in revenue for September, which marks an 18% increase from the same month in pre-pandemic 2019 and is also up 8% year-on-year

Additionally, the state is on pace to break last year’s record-setting gaming revenue total of $13.4 billion. Over the last nine months, Nevada casinos generated $11 billion in revenue, which is 13.2% above the same period in 2021. This has been partly credited to a strong Las Vegas Strip performance, which has seen revenue up by 22.7% for the nine-month period.

“We have three months left in the calendar year and I'm going to go out on a limb and say this year is going to surpass last year,” said Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst at the Nevada Gaming Control Board, as reported by Forbes. While the expert expects some “choppiness” over the next couple of months, he noted core customers continue to “fight” through the adverse macroeconomic picture.

All in all, Lawton believes the $1 billion-plus streak will continue until 2023, with Nevada set up to finish the calendar year strongly. “I like how we look for the near future,” he noted. “We would have to see a significant drop off—20%—to not hit $1 billion in October. There's nothing to support that possibility. I like our chances of continuing the streak.”

“All markets are going to be facing difficult comparisons for the foreseeable future and we expect growth rates to moderate," he told Las Vegas Review-Journal. "However, downtown Las Vegas currently is up 4.7% calendar year-to-date over 2021, which was an all-time record for the market.”

Slot machines took the lion’s share of September’s revenue, at $856.2 million, or 72% of all revenue. They also generated the greatest year-on-year rise, up by 10%, with multi-denomination machines proving the state’s most popular: they accounted for $447 million of all slots revenue.

For their part, table, counter and card games grew by 4% to $384 million in revenue. Blackjack turned out the most lucrative game during the month, generating $86.4 million, despite being 6% down from September 2021. It was closely followed by Baccarat, which contributed to $80 million in revenue for the month.

As for Nevada sportsbooks, they brought in another $70.6 million, up 30.2% compared to the same month last year, partly attributed to a higher hold percentage of 9.30%. In comparison, last year’s hold percentage was just 6.90%. However, handle came in at $760.8 million, down 3.3% compared to September last year.

As expected, Clark County, home of the Las Vegas Strip, made the biggest contribution to the state’s gaming revenue for September, accounting for $1.06 billion of the monthly total. Las Vegas Strip casinos brought in $693 million, up 8.3%, with slot machines inside Strip properties bringing in 15.3% more revenue than last September.

Results were aided by a strong lineup of events. The new NFL season, a number of high-profile concerts and a slate of special events, including the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin boxing match at T-Mobile Arena, continued to attract tourists – and dollars – to the gambling mecca.

“Overall, Strip fundamentals remained consistent with recent months,” Wells Fargo gaming analyst Daniel Politzer told investors in a research note Thursday, as reported by The Nevada Independent. He expected the investment community will view those results positively ahead of next week’s quarterly earnings reports from Caesars, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts, which are the Strip’s three major operators.

Visitation numbers are slowly but surely returning to their pre-pandemic glory: in September, 3.35 million people visited Vegas, up 14.3% from last year, while only down 3.5% compared to September 2019, as reported by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Hotel occupancy hit 83%, up by 10% from last September, but down from 88.3% in 2019.

Every Nevada market is up for the first nine months of the year with Sparks as the sole exception, which is down slightly by just 0.08%. September’s report completes the third quarter of the year, for which Nevada reported $3.7 billion, a 3% rise year-on-year. 

Brendan Bussmann, the managing partner of B Global, a consulting firm focused on gaming and hospitality, says Nevada is likely to continue its winning streak for the rest of the year. “First and foremost, $1 billion is the standard at this point—you almost have two years of data,” he told Forbes.

However, Bussmann noted “a little bit of softness” when looking at locals markets like Downtown Vegas, Laughlin and the Boulder Strip in fiscal year to date, which are all down by more than 2% compared to the same time last year. “We hit full recovery, plus some, but we have inflation at record levels and costs are spiraling out of control, which will put pressure on the locals market,” he added.

See September's full report here.

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