by Richard N. Velotta, Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 28, 2022
Strip casinos boosted Nevada to its 16th straight month of $1 billion-plus gaming wins, closing the state’s 2021-22 fiscal year with the highest 12-month total in history.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Thursday that fiscal year 2021-22, which ended in June, produced $14.63 billion, beating the previous record of $12.7 billion collected in 2007-08. The 37.3 percent increase in win for the fiscal year followed a year in which win increased 14.2 percent from 2019-20.
That total was more than $1 billion higher than the $13.43 billion collected for the 2021 calendar year, which was also a record.
Gaming win from Strip casinos totaled $734.8 million of the total $1.277 billion collected from the state’s 439 largest casinos — more than 57 percent — which was 22.7 percent more than was collected on the Strip in June 2021. Baccarat play drove higher gaming win on the Strip.
While the monthly total was just the fifth-best month overall for Nevada, it was the best June ever for the state, Clark County and the Strip.
“Nevada continued to record gaming win amounts in excess of prepandemic levels in June with $1.28 billion in win,” said Michael Lawton, the Control Board’s senior economic analyst.
The news wasn’t so great beyond the Strip.
For the third consecutive month, Lawton said, statewide gaming win excluding the Strip dropped, down 7.5 percent compared with June 2021.
“The majority of the submarkets in Clark County in addition to several submarkets outside of Clark County continue to face difficult year-over-year comparisons and growth, as anticipated, is decelerating compared with calendar year 2021,” he said. “On the positive side, with the exception of North Las Vegas and Laughlin, all the state’s major submarkets’ gaming win totals increased over June 2019.”
The Strip win performance outshined five Southern Nevada submarkets monitored by the Control Board. Downtown Las Vegas win fell 11.6 percent to $69.9 million, while the Boulder Strip, which includes several Henderson casinos, was off 11.9 percent to $86 million.
Lawton attributed the downtown decline to a tough comparison against the previous year when June 2021 figures were up 51.5 percent from June 2019.
North Las Vegas was down 8.3 percent to $22.5 million, Laughlin fell 14.7 percent to $36.4 million and outlying Clark County was off 1.1 percent to $146.1 million.
In Northern Nevada, only North Lake Tahoe and outlying Washoe County had a better performance in June than it did a year ago with Sparks down 10.1 percent to $12.7 million, Reno down 4.8 percent to $61.4 million and South Lake Tahoe tumbling 28.7 percent – the worst percentage drop in the state – to $22.2 million.
Sparks will add a new casino, Legends Bay, next month.
North Lake Tahoe was up 11.4 percent to $2.8 million.
Still, the performance for the fiscal year was higher for every submarket except South Lake Tahoe, which endured casino closures last summer as a result of a major forest fire in the area.
Last month was the fifth-best month ever for Clark County and the Strip and the best June ever.
Over the last 16 months, Clark County has recorded more than $1 billion in win nine times. Prior to that, it had only happened once and that was in October 2007.
As in past months, Lawton attributed the Strip’s big June to the calendar of special events.
The Jonas Brothers began their residency at Dolby Live at the Park MGM on June 3. Sting performed multiple shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace from June 3-18.
While June numbers were at high levels, there were indications the pace was starting to slow.
Statewide, slot win of $838.8 million decreased 1.9 percent and $11.2 billion in coin-in decreased 2.1 percent from June 2021. It was the first decrease in statewide slot win and volume since February 2021.
Statewide table gaming win excluding baccarat was down 0.5 percent. But baccarat win of $143.2 million increased 237.3 percent and baccarat drop — the amount wagered on games — of $656.5 million increased 2 percent. Baccarat’s hold percentage, the amount won, was 21.8 percent compared with 6.6 percent last year.
On the Strip, baccarat numbers were similar.
Win was up 252.8 percent to $141.1 million, the drop was up 2.4 percent to $639.3 million and the winning percentage was 22.1 percent compared with 6.4 percent a year ago.
Sports streak ends
Nevada sportsbooks won $23.8 million, down 18.3 percent compared with June 2021 with a hold percentage of 4.86 percent vs. 5.35 percent last year. Sportsbook wagers totaled $490.3 million, down 10.1 percent compared with June 2021.
That ends a streak of nine consecutive increases in sports betting volumes, with the last decrease recorded in August 2021, Lawton said.
Joe Greff, a gaming industry analyst with New York-based J.P. Morgan, acknowledged that June’s gaming win outperformed prepandemic June 2019.
“Sequentially, on a per-day basis, Las Vegas Strip gross gaming revenue increased 4 percent, with some benefit from favorable baccarat hold in the month,” he wrote in a Thursday note to investors. “Las Vegas Locals gross gaming revenue increased 3 percent sequentially on a per-day basis, as the market was more resilient than most other regional markets. For the second quarter of 2022 vs. 2019, Strip GGR was 27 percent above and LV Locals GGR was 24 percent higher.”