UPDATED: Nevada gaming revenues surpassed $1 billion in September for the seventh straight month

UPDATED: Nevada gaming revenues surpassed $1 billion in September for the seventh straight month

  • Buck Wargo
October 27, 2021 4:32 PM
  • Other

Nevada gaming revenues of $3.7 billion set a record for the third quarter and surpassed $1 billion in September for the seventh straight month. In addition, sportsbooks took in a record handle and recorded their third highest win in history.

In addition, Las Vegas had 2.93 million visitors in September, down only 2.1%, or about 58,000 fewer, from the 2.99 million in August as room rates hit their highest level in the pandemic era. That’s 15.5% fewer than September 2019’s 3.47 million visitors. The peak during the pandemic was 3.3 million in July, but that tailed off in August when COVID cases increased due to the delta variant.

Nevada casinos reported a total gaming win of $1.15 billion for September. This amounts to a 41% increase over September 2020, when licensees reported a gaming win of $820.9 million. Last month’s revenue came in at 9.4% higher than September 2019.

Clark County reported $1 billion in revenue for the fifth month of the last six. The only other $1 billion month prior to this year was October 2007, state officials said.

For the fiscal year so far (July 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021), gaming win has increased 58.7%, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Las Vegas Strip posted $640.6 million in revenue in September, besting September 2020’s $354.6 million, a gain of 80.6%.

Downtown Las Vegas recorded $73 million, a 41% gain over the $51.7 million in September 2020.

Compared to September 2019 prior to the pandemic, Las Vegas Strip revenues rose 9.7%, according to Deutsche Bank. Revenue from casinos that cater to local residents rose 12.9% versus September 2019.

Revenue for the downtown Las Vegas market of $73 million was up 10.8% versus 2019, resulting in a third quarter that grew 27.2% versus the third quarter of 2019.

Reno’s gaming revenue of $62.7 million was up 13.3% versus 2019 and the third quarter was up 22.7% versus the same three months in 2019. Reno’s revenue in September rose 9.89% compared to September 2020.

For the third quarter of 2021 compared to 2019, Strip revenue overall rose 25.1%. There was a 21.4% increase in gaming revenue relative to the third quarter of 2019 for locals’ casinos, Deutsche Bank reported.

Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst with the Gaming Control Board, reported Strip revenues for the first nine months of 2021 are now 0.6% higher compared to 2019. He added that this is the state’s second longest streak of $1 billion and higher in gaming revenue. The longest streak is eight months, which occurred from November 2006 to May 2007.

“Strong demand across markets, the continued rebound of leisure travel, and the return of special events and entertainment continued to propel the gaming win past 2019 levels, which are now 8% above calendar-year-to-date 2019,” Lawton said.

Sports pools won $54.2 million in September, the third highest total all-time. The record, $61.8 million, was set in November 2020. September was up 64.6% ($21.3 million) versus September 2020, Lawton said.

Sports pool win is up 44.4% and write is up 37.8% for nine months of 2021 versus 2019.

Sports pool drop ($786.5 million) was up 36.7% ($211.2 million) versus September 2020. This represents an all-time record, beating the previous record of $659.6 million set in October 2020, Lawton said.

Sports wagers made with mobile apps won $16.7 million on a $495.1 million handle, holding 3.4%. This write amount accounted for 63% of total wagers.

Strip slot revenue for the third quarter rose 30.4%. Baccarat revenue rose 18.5.% and other table revenue rose 19.7%.

At the properties that cater to locals compared to September 2019, slot revenue rose 14.7% and table revenue rose 5%, Deutsche Bank reported.

For September, Strip slot handle was up 16.3% versus 2019, while table volumes were up 6.8% versus 2019 (+12.4% vs. 2019, excluding baccarat). Strip slot revenue of $355.3 million was up 15.7% vs. 2019, as hold was down about 4 basis points to 8.6%, which compares to the average hold of 8.2%, Deutsche Bank reported.

Table revenue, excluding baccarat, was $204.0 million and was up 20.2% versus 2019. Drop increased 12.4% versus 2019, while hold was up about 100 basis points to 15.4%, which compares to the average hold of 15.3%, Deutsche Bank reported.

Baccarat volumes were down 5.5% versus 2019, while revenue was down 24.4% versus 2019, as baccarat hold of 16% was down about 400 basis points versus 2019. The 16% baccarat hold compares to the average hold of 14.3%, Deutsche Bank reported.

Overall, September Strip table revenue of $277.5 million (excluding poker) was up 2.2% versus 2019, as drop was up 6.8% versus 2019. Table hold of 15.2% was down about 70 basis points versus September 2019 and compares to the average hold of 14.1%, Deutsche Bank reported.

The following had impacts on gaming in September.

The Caldor fire suspended gaming operations in South Shore Lake Tahoe September 1-6, causing a 77% decline, Lawton reported.

Extended unemployment insurance benefits of $300 a week ended for more than seven million Americans on September 5.

Downtown Las Vegas’s Main Street Station resumed gaming operations on Sept. 8.

Allegiant Stadium hosted its first two regular-season NFL games on September 13 and the 26. T-Mobile Arena hosted UFC 266 on Sept. 26, featuring a featherweight championship bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. On Sept. 26, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway held the NASCAR South Point 400.

The difference between 2019 and 2021 visitation numbers came down to the 459,400 people counted as convention visitors in September 2019. None were counted in September, even though there were smaller-scale business events. Conventions started to return in bigger numbers in October and will further grow in November.

The release of the numbers from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority comes before McCarran International Airport publicly releases its monthly numbers for September.

Drive-in traffic passing state lines, however, remains strong, with 127,905 per day on all major highways in September. That’s about 200 more per day than August and about 1,000 more than September 2020.

The latest visitation numbers showed strong weekends, but continued to be slower midweek. Hotel occupancy was 73% in September, up slightly from 72.8% in August, but still down significantly from 88.3% in September 2019.

On the weekends, occupancy was 89.1%, compared to 95.6% in September 2019. Midweek, the occupancy was 66.1% in September compared to 85.1% in September 2019.

Strip occupancy was 74.5%, while downtown’s was 61.9%. It was 89.8% and 83.6% in September 2019, respectively.

The average daily room rate hit a post-June-2020-reopening high at $155.80 in September, 44% higher than the $108.13 in September 2020. It’s 13.6% higher than the $137.11 in September 2019.

The average rate was $164.78 on the Strip in September. It was $119.20 at downtown hotels, an 84% gain over September 2020 when it was $64.80 prior to Circa Las Vegas opening its hotel rooms in December. It was $78.29 in September 2019.

Revenue per available room was $113.73 in September, some 11.3% higher than $102.15 in August. It’s 124.7% higher than the $50.60 in September 2020. It’s 6.1% below the $121.07 in September 2019.

Strip per available room revenue at $122.76 remains 7.7% below September 2019, levels while downtown is up 12.7% from 2019 at $73.78 in September.