by Richard N. Velotta, Las Vegas Review Journal, February 25, 2022
The $1 billion state gaming win streak continues.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Friday announced that the state’s 433 major casinos won $1.079 billion from gamblers in January, a record 11th straight month win topped the $1 billion mark. Win — the amount casinos collect from players of slot machines and table games – was up 41.6 percent from January 2021.
Clark County was again a big contributor to the state win with $928.7 million, a 50.4 percent increase over January 2021 and 86.1 percent of the state’s total.
All but one Clark County market monitored by the Control Board had double-digit percentage increases with the Strip up 76.4 percent to $567.2 million and downtown Las Vegas up 38.4 percent to $67.7 million.
January usually is a big visitation month for Southern Nevada with several major conventions in town, including CES and the SHOT Show, also known as the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show.
“The board is pleasantly surprised by these results considering the considerable headwinds that were present during the month which were due to a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant,” said Control Board Research Analyst Michael Lawton.
“Most notably, the outbreak disrupted group business attendance associated with the Consumer Electronics Show which was held Jan. 5-7,” Lawton said. “Additionally, the outbreak along with severe weather across the country led to thousands of flight cancellations into Harry Reid International Airport, which also negatively impacted foot traffic on casino floors during the first half of the month.”
Some rural county gaming markets showed some weakness in January with South Lake Tahoe off 4.4 percent to $17.1 million, Wendover down 1.6 percent to $21.7 million and Elko County down fractionally to $31.8 million.
The decline at South Lake Tahoe was due mostly to bad luck for the casinos, Lawton said.
“Slot coin-in on the South Shore was up 15.9 percent, $26.6 million, compared with January 2021, however, the slot win percentage was 5.53 percent versus 7.28 percent in 2021, which resulted in slot win decreasing 11.9 percent or $1.5 million,” he said.
The Strip’s 58 licensees continued to grab the spotlight by winning 61.1 percent of Clark County’s total and 52.6 percent of the state’s total win in January, but Lawton cautioned that the news isn’t all good.
“Although the Strip’s total win of $567.2 million increased 76.4 percent over January 2021, it was up only 6.6 percent over January 2019,” Lawton explained. “Compared to the pre-pandemic month of January 2020, the Strip was actually down 0.9 percent or $5.1 million. Additionally, this month’s total was the lowest gaming win amount recorded by the Strip during the last nine months, going back to May 2021.”
In seven months of the current fiscal year, the state has won nearly $8.46 billion, 57.8 percent more than in the 2020-21 fiscal year, while Clark County is up 67.6 percent to nearly $7.31 billion.
The Strip’s win over the past seven months has more than doubled to about $4.74 billion.
Strong Strip demand
“Las Vegas Strip demand was strong considering the impact of omicron and flight cancellations,” said Joe Greff, a gaming analyst with New York-based J.P. Morgan.
“January Las Vegas Strip gross gaming revenue of $567.2 million was 7 percent above 2019 levels, Las Vegas Locals revenue of $237.1 million increased 9 percent versus the 2019 period, and statewide (Strip, locals, Reno, Lake Tahoe and other) gaming revenues of $1.078 billion increased 10 percent vs. 2019,” Greff said in a report to investors.
Another state record was posted in sports wagering.
The amount of money bet on sports — $1.1 billion — was up 71.7 percent from January 2021 and was an all-time record narrowly surpassing the amount bet in October of $1.099 billion.
Sportsbooks won $50 million, down 4.6 percent from January 2021, because players won more frequently. The sports pool hold was 4.5 percent compared with 8.1 percent a year earlier.
Sports books have now recorded more than $1 billion in wagers in four consecutive months. Prior to October, that had never happened.
Lawton said sports wagers made with mobile apps won $15.2 million on $787.7 million in wagers, holding 1.9 percent. That write amount accounted for 71 percent of total sports wagers.
Gaming win is important because taxes are collected on gross gaming win.
As of Thursday, the state collected $81.2 million from January revenue, a 75.5 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Since June, the state has collected $652.1 million in taxes from casinos, a 35.4 percent increase over the same time a year ago.