International edition
June 18, 2021

Its 2021 Nevada Gaming Fact Book outlines the pandemic's negative impact on the state's gaming industry

Nevada Resort Association optimistic due to vaccines rollout, eased capability restrictions

Nevada Resort Association optimistic due to vaccines rollout, eased capability restrictions
By December 2020, total employment in the leisure and hospitality sector stands at 300,700, the equivalent to 2010 levels, according to the new report.
United States | 03/10/2021

The report found that in April 2020, Nevada posted the highest unemployment of any state in the country in modern history, with unemployment reaching in excess of 30% in the first full month of the pandemic-related shutdown. Gross gaming income from nonrestricted gaming licensees dropped 22% and statewide visitation charges fell 25% in 2020.

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he Nevada Resort Association issued Tuesday the 2021 Nevada Gaming Fact Book, which outlines key economic, fiscal and social impacts of the resort industry in Nevada during 2020.

"We do know that the economic devastation caused by the public health crisis and related response has been tremendous, and no industry has been more impacted than travel and tourism, particularly destination markets, including Las Vegas," said Ellen Whittemore, Chair of the Nevada Resort Association’s Board of Directors; and the body's President Virginia Valentine in a joint statement.

The report, released every two years and compiled by financial analysis and evaluation consultancy Applied Analysis, discovered the COVID-19 pandemic set off the worst financial downturn the state’s tourism industry has ever faced.

In terms of economic impacts, in April 2020, Nevada posted the highest unemployment of any state in the country in modern history, with unemployment reaching in excess of 30% in the first full month of the pandemic-related shutdown. The resort industry largely bore the impact which saw its total base of jobs decline from 349,800 in February to 204,700 in April 2020. By December 2020, total employment in the leisure and hospitality sector stands at 300,700, the equivalent to 2010 levels.

The hotel-casino shutdown in mid-March prompted the state’s leisure and hospitality sector, which usually employs greater than one-fourth of the state’s whole workforce, to lose roughly 145,000 jobs by April 2020, accounting for 37% of the state’s unemployment insurance coverage claims. Employment on this sector dropped to ranges not seen since 1993, and solely simply recovered to 2010 ranges in December.

Gross gaming income from giant, nonrestricted gaming licensees dropped 22% in 2020 in comparison with the prior fiscal year, and statewide visitation charges dropped 25% in that same time-frame.

"The COVID 19 health crisis continues to evolve on a daily basis and weakness in the tourism industry is expected to persist into 2021 and beyond," they added. "However, recently released vaccinations that are rolling out across the United States and to a global audience provide optimism for an industry in a state that is dependent on people making the decision to get in a car or board a plane to enjoy the wide range of Nevada’s amenities, including its resorts." Whittemore believes recovery will time take, but she pointed to the decline of COVID-19 circumstances and easing capability restrictions on companies throughout the state.

“Vaccinations are happening, and available supply of available vaccines continues to grow,” Valentine stated. “There are encouraging signs in consumers’ readiness to travel, and we know there is a pent-up demand from business and leisure travelers to return to Nevada.”

In addition, contributions to the state were hit, as the industry offered about $1.3 billion from industry-specific taxes to the state basic fund in fiscal year 2020. Those taxes have been down 60% within the first half of the 2020 calendar year in comparison with the year prior.

See the full 2021 Nevada Gaming Fact Book here.

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