evada casinos set a new record in May by winning $1.23 billion, the highest single-month win in the state’s history, blowing past a $1.165 billion record achieved in October 2007.
The record win came right before Nevada on June 1 lifted all mandated COVID-19 restrictions on businesses statewide. The casino’s take has topped $1 billion for three months in a row. Even before the restrictions lifted in June, tourists were again flocking to Las Vegas casinos, and most casino resorts were allowed to return to 100% capacity.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported that in May, 2.9 million people visited Las Vegas, an increase of nearly 12% from April, despite having no conventions and no international travel. Hotel rooms were about 71% occupied on average over the month, with weekend occupancy climbing to 88%.
Comparisons to last year weren’t relevant because casinos were closed statewide from mid-March to early June 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Compared to last May, Nevada is up nearly 21,000% in wins via gaming in 2021. And overall, the state's gaming total is up 8% from July 2020 through May 2021.
The May casino win was driven by record revenues for slot machines on the Las Vegas Strip at $358.3 million and robust baccarat revenues, according to Michael Lawton, a senior analyst with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Casinos on the Strip won $655.5 million last month, up nearly 27% from the same month in 2019. Therefore, Clark County casinos led the way in reported winnings with $1.05 billion being collected, an all time record.
Lawton said the numbers are obviously the result of strong demand. Based on what is happening on the Strip, leisure travel is starting to rebound, he said.
Statewide, sportsbook operators took in $477.4 million in bets, up 50% from May 2019 and won $27.1 million, up 140% from from the same month two years ago. Both were records for the month of May, Lawton said.
The May gambling revenues generated $107 million in tax revenue for the state of Nevada. Casino taxes are second only to sales tax as a percentage of Nevada’s annual budget. The state has no personal income tax.
In the north, the Carson Valley area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, raked in $12.2 million. That is the first time win in Carson topped $12 million, Nevada Appeal reports. For the calendar year, Carson’s total win is up 23.7%.
Washoe County reported a total win of $91.9 million. That is the county’s highest total win since August 2008 and a 23.1% increase over May 2019.
South Shore casinos at Stateline won $20.3 million in May despite an 8%, $1.3 million decrease in slot win. Lawton said game and table win, “saved the day,” reporting a 45%, $1.5 million increase compared to the same month of 2019. A lot of that, $959,000, was in the “Other Games” category which is where Baccarat win is reported in smaller markets. That translates to a 23.99% hold by the casinos, far higher than normal for Baccarat.
North Shore casinos at Crystal Bay reported $2.4 million in win, a 21.4%, $420,000 increase over May 2019. Year to date, North Shore is up 22.5%.
Churchill County casinos won a total of $2.23 million in May, all but $28,000 of it from slot play. The vast majority of slot win comes from the penny and multi denominational machines.