Updated: Nevada gaming revenues decline 22.1% in August to $743 million, Strip down 39.2%

Updated: Nevada gaming revenues decline 22.1% in August to $743 million, Strip down 39.2%

  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
September 30, 2020 8:15 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Other

Nevada’s gaming market declined 22.1% in August compared to a year ago. But in a month-to-month comparison, there wasn’t that much difference between July and August.

The Gaming Control Board said Wednesday casinos statewide collected $743 million from gamblers during August, compared to $953.6 million in August 2019. In July, Nevada casinos collected $756.8 million.

The state’s casino industry is still showing the effects of a 78-day shutdown that began March 18 and was caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Casinos are operating under state-mandated COVID-19 health, safety, and cleaning protocols.

On the Strip, gaming revenues fell 39.2% to $317.3 million. The Strip results follow a 61% decline in June and a 39.2% drop in July. Strip revenues fell more than 99% in both April and May.

During August, the Strip accounted for 97.1% percent of the state’s total decline.

For the first eight months of 2020, Nevada gaming revenues are down 40% while the Strip is off 45.8%.

Visitation has been slowed by lack of airline travel into Las Vegas while restrictions on the size of crowd gatherings have halted conventions and live entertainment.

“Las Vegas, a destination market, has turned into a super-regional market given the lack of airlift and convention business,” Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon said in a research note. “Given the market’s dependence on airlift and group/convention/events, we expect a protracted recovery.”

However, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Tuesday the state would lift its 50-person cap on public and private gatherings starting Thursday in a step toward kick-starting conventions, concerts, sports events, and tradeshows that power the state’s economy. Venues that can hold more than 2,500 people can submit plans to operate at 10% capacity, and the new guidelines will let smaller venues host up to 250.

Several Strip resorts are still closed. The Mirage resumed operations on August 27 and Park MGM is reopening Wednesday as a non-smoking resort, the first on the Strip. Tropicana Las Vegas and Oyo opened earlier in September.

Meanwhile, Cromwell, Palms, Planet Hollywood, and Rio remain closed.

During August gaming revenues fell 14.8% in Reno, 21.5% in downtown Las Vegas, 9.5% in Laughlin, and 7.6% in South Lake Tahoe.

However, there were some bright spots. North Las Vegas gaming revenues increased 1.8% and the Boulder Strip in Southern Nevada was up 29.6%.

For the first eight months of 2020, Nevada gaming revenues are down 40% while the Strip is off 45.8%.

On the Strip, slot machine wagering was down 27.2% and table volumes were down 26.2%. Baccarat volumes were down 18% in August, while revenue declined 55.3%.

Nevada sportsbooks were a bright spot during August. Because the NBA and NHL were playing in a month they normally wouldn’t, sportsbooks took in $475.1 million in wagers, a 64.9% increase over a year, and the highest all-time record for the month. Mobile sports wagering accounted for 64.3% of the total bets.

Revenues from sports betting were $17 million, a 9.3% decline from a year ago.

Las Vegas visitation

For the fifth straight month, Las Vegas tourism leaders said the city registered zero in convention and meetings business, due to the restrictions crowd size. However, total visitation in Las Vegas during August was almost 1.54 million tourists, down 57% from a year ago, but up 6.9% over July.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said the market had 3.2% more rooms available in August compared to the prior month, total occupancy reached 42.7% for August. Weekend occupancy improved to 63.1% while midweek occupancy reached 34.4%.

For the first eight months of 2020, visitor volume in Las Vegas is down 55.3%. Convention business is off 63.3%.

The average daily room rates on the Strip was $99.24 during August, down 4.9% compared to July and down 18% from a year ago. Revenue per available room was $42.38, down 60.1% from last August.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at hstutz@cdcgaming.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.