Nevada casinos are on course to record the highest annual house winnings, according to the gambling regulatory board, indicating a shaky return back to normalcy for the state’s biggest industry after the pandemic-related shutdowns.
According to statements published by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, casinos had an incredible streak this year, the longest on record, with $1-billion-plus monthly gaming revenue over nine straight months. With December’s tally yet to be counted, this year has, till now, brought in $12.28 billion gaming revenues, more than 50 percent higher than in the entire 2020.
The biggest amount raked in by the gambling houses was $12.85 billion back in 2007, before the recession. If the trajectory remains steady, that record is soon expected to be broken. November’s $1.32 billion came close to beating July’s $1.36 billion, the highest-ever revenue documented.
Casinos on the Clark County Las Vegas Strip brought in around $755 million last month, which is over a 45 percent increase from the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. Featuring some of the largest hotels, resorts, and entertainment venues in the world, the 2021 revenue from the strip, excluding December, has outpaced all of 2019 by over $130 million.
Although some fears have receded regarding the pandemic and people have started moving about, the latest COVID-19 variant has brought up the issue of travel restrictions. However, Las Vegas continues to be a major attraction for domestic and foreign tourists.
The world-famous casinos used to attract around 42 million people before the lockdowns and restrictions. When recent numbers are considered, tourists are flocking back to the City of Second Chances, although the current scenario will likely reflect in December’s numbers.
According to data from the Nevada Independent, Las Vegas hotel occupancy was at 77.6 percent during November, and 90.7 percent on weekends. The average room rent was below $156, which is 15.5 percent higher than in 2019.
Traffic coming into the city has gone up as the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority noted a 5.6 percent month-over-month increment on major highways.
Sports betting, done mostly through mobile apps, also reaped a new record with $72 million in revenue recorded last month on total wagers worth $1.1 billion.
“The continued acceptance of mobile sports wagering by customers is driving these results,” Nevada gaming board analyst Michael Lawton Lawton said to AP. “This month represented the highest monthly total recorded in mobile (bets) since the board began tracking these wagers in January 2020.”
Lawton added that the previous monthly-streak record was set during the eight months from October 2006 to May 2007.
The Harry Reid International Airport in Paradise, Nevada saw almost 4 million passengers last month but the highly-transmissible Omicron has cast its shadow on the state with the country registering new highs in COVID-19 cases. International traffic has gone down considerably with many passengers fearing a lockdown scenario where they’d be unable to get back home.