Las Vegas Strip records all-time high in gaming revenue

August 26, 2021 4:01 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
August 26, 2021 4:01 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

Nevada and the Las Vegas Strip recorded all-time highs in gaming revenue in July when Resorts World Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium were open for their first month and other entertainment venues reopened, bringing 3.3 million visitors to Las Vegas and the strongest showing yet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The records were set before Nevada reinstituted a mandatory indoor mask mandate, which became effective on July 30 to combat growing infections. However, in earnings calls in late July and early August, casino operators from the Strip to locals-based properties indicated that they didn’t expect the mandate to slow business in August and going forward.

July marked the fifth consecutive month Nevada has surpassed $1 billion in gaming revenue. It recorded $1.35 billion in July, up from $1.19 billion in June and $1.23 billion in May, a record at the time. The last time this occurred was December 2007 to April 2008, according to Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Nothing was more impressive, however, than the Strip’s $793.7 million in gaming revenue in July, a 46.5% increase over July 2019, prior to the pandemic, when it was $541.8 million.

The Strip’s showing in July exceeded the prior high, set in February 2013, by almost $100 million or 14%, according to Deutsche Bank. Resorts World Las Vegas opened June 24.

Strip revenue rose 30% from $610.6 million in June and 25.8% on a gross-gaming-revenue-per-day basis.

“July was a perfect storm for gaming win in terms of special events (at Allegiant Stadium), the month having five weekends, Resorts World’s first full month of operations, and a very unusual baccarat month (high hold and increased play from international guests),” Lawton said. “This, of course, is in addition to the contributing factors we have discussed in previous months, which include demand, return of leisure travel, and healthy consumers due to stimulus.”

That was evident when the 3.3 million visitors in July surpassed the 2.97 million visitors in June; the numbers were only 10% below the 3.68 million in July 2019, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Hotel occupancy during the month reached nearly 80% and surpassed 88% on the weekends. It was 91% for July 2019 and 97% that month on the weekends.

Strong demand meant resorts could charge more.

The average daily room rate was $152.13 in July, some 19% higher than the $127.90 in June. Room rates were 20% higher than July 2019, according to the LVCVA. The revenue per available room was $120.79, up 24.4% from June and 4.5% from July 2019 when it was $115.62.

Lawton said special events and other items of note include the Cirque Du Soleil show “O” returning to Bellagio on July 1 and Bruno Mar’s residency reopening at the Park MGM, with his performance on July 3. Garth Brooks played Allegiant Stadium on July 10. UFC 264 was also held at the T-Mobile Arena on July 10 with the main event featuring Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier. On July 16, Usher began his residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The United States played Mexico in the 2021 Gold Cup final on August 1 at Allegiant Stadium and had a positive impact on the last weekend of July, Lawton said.

For July, Strip slot handle was up 35.8% versus 2019, while table volumes were up 32.7% versus 2019.

Strip slot revenue of $409.6 million was up 38.7% versus 2019, as the hold was up to 8.5%, which compares to the average hold of 8.1%, according to Deutsche Bank.

Table revenue, excluding baccarat, was $226.1 million, a 30.8% year-over-year increase. The drop rose 37.7% versus 2019, while hold was down to 16.5%.

Baccarat volume was 24.7% higher than in 2019, while revenue was up 114.5%, as the hold of 20.1% was well above the 12.5% average, according to Deutsche Bank.

Overall, July’s Strip table revenue of $372.7 million (excluding poker) was up 63.4% year over year, with the drop up 32.7%. Table hold of 17.3% was up compared to July 2019 and to the average hold of 13.4%.

Clark County reported $1.16 billion in revenue in July, up from $1.01 billion in June.

For locals casinos, which had been driving the recovery, the increase wasn’t as dramatic. The $240.8 million in gaming revenue was 13.4% higher than the $212.2 million in July 2019, but below the $269.8 million in June 2020. In the locals’ market, slot revenue of $197.7 million increased 7.8% versus 2019, as hold was down. Handle increased 15.3% versus 2019. Table revenue of $43.1 million was up 48.9% versus 2019, as hold was up. Table volumes were up 21.9% versus 2019, according to Deutsche Bank.

Downtown Las Vegas had $71.2 million in revenue in July, down from $79 million in June when an all-time record was set. The July numbers, however, were 35.5% higher than 2019, as downtown continues to benefit from the opening of the Circa Resort & Casino.

Reno’s gross gaming revenue of $72.4 million was up 26.3% versus 2019.

Statewide, sports pools won $33.3 million, up 428.6% ($27 million) versus July 2020. Sports pool drop ($409.9 million) was up 150.5% ($246.2 million) versus July 2020. Both win and volume are all-time records for the month of July. Sports pool write was up 35.5% and win was up 68% so far in seven months of 2021 versus 2019, according to Lawton.

Sports wagers made with mobile apps won $13.6 million on $242 million in wagers, holding 5.6%. This write amount accounted for 59% of total wagers, Lawton said.

Games (table, counter, and card) win of $486.2 million increased 131% and games drop of $2.9 billion increased 112% from July 2020, Lawton said.

Compared to July 2019, games win increased 47.8% and drop increased 27.5%. This is the second highest games win total in state’s history, the record amount being $531.4 million recorded in February 2013, Lawton said.

Baccarat win of $160.1 million increased 168.6% and baccarat drop of $809.9 million increased 103.9% compared to July 2020. Baccarat’s hold was 19.8% compared to 15% last year. Year over year, baccarat win and drop increased 107.6% and 26.3%, respectively, with a hold-percentage comparison of 12.03%, Lawton said.

Slot win of $873.7 million was up 59.9% and coin-in of $12.2 billion increased 56.6% from July 2020. Compared to July 2019, slot win and coin-in increased 25.5% and 25.4%, respectively, Lawton said.

“This again represents the highest slot win in state history, eclipsing the previous record set last month of $885 million,” Lawton said. “The previous record was $779.6 million set in October 2007.”

The coin-in was the second highest all-time total, the record being $12.5 billion recorded in March 2007, Lawton said.