Las Vegas Strip casinos propelled the Silver State to $1.3 billion in gaming revenue in July, extending the winning streak of more than $1 billion to 17 months.
AAmericans may be worried about the economy, but the players who come to Nevada apparently still have plenty of discretionary income. In July, the state posted $1.3 billion in gaming revenue, up 28.4% from pre-COVID-19 levels in July 2019 and the 17th consecutive month the state exceeded $1 billion in gaming revenue.
But the post-pandemic spike stalled, as revenue last month fell 3.2% compared to July of last year, which saw nearly $1.4 billion in revenue, the record for a single month in Nevada.
“We were down this month, but I don’t see any smoothness, it was slightly below the all-time high,” says Michael Lawton, chief economic analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. “The bar was very high last July. We didn’t make it, but we still had the fourth-highest total of all time in the entire state, the second-highest total of all time for The Strip.”
Silver State is up nearly 16% in the calendar year to date, but Lawton says it’s “debatable” whether or not 2022 will top last year’s revenue. “I think the $1.359 billion in July 2021 is safe; I don’t think that’s going to get out of hand for long,” says Lawton. “He’s up there with [Joe DiMaggio’s] Hitting streak of 56 games. It was a perfect storm.”
Business is brisk in Sin City. Players on the Las Vegas Strip lost $773.4 million at the house in July, a decrease of 2.42% from July 2021. However, July marks The Strip’s second-highest monthly income in history.
Interestingly, slot machines, long the casino’s source of revenue, saw only their second drop in revenue since February 2021. One-armed bandits snatched $839.6 million from players in July, a 3, 9% less. Slot volume reached $12.1 billion, down $133.7 million or 1.1% from the same month last year. Lawton isn’t worried about the knockdown.
“We did $12.1 billion in slot volume statewide, which was the third highest of all time,” says Lawton, noting that the record was set in March 2007 and the second highest amount was last July. “You can’t say the sky is falling: the state has done $12 billion in slots volume just five times.”
Card and table games generated $476.4 million, a decrease of 1.9% from July 2021. Baccarat generated $138 million, a decrease of 13.4%, although the drop of $833.7 million increased a 3.1%. Baccarat retention percentage was 16.56% vs. 19.71% last year.
“I’m comfortable with the billion-dollar streak continuing into the fall.”
Wagering at Nevada sportsbooks, $419.4 million, was up 2.3% from July 2021, but revenue fell 51.3% to just $16.2 million. Mobile wagering, which represented 65% of total wagering, generated $14.5 million in revenue for the state, up 6.3% from July 2021.
According to the latest report from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 3.3 million people came to Las Vegas in June, nearly 12% more than last June, but 7.8% less than pre-June levels. the pandemic in 2019. Hotel occupancy was 82.7% in 2019. June, which is still down 9% compared to 2019. July numbers are yet to be released.
With a decline in statewide revenue, especially in the context of a looming recession, the question is whether a decline in gaming revenue is a harbinger of storm clouds to come.
“I think it’s too early to tell,” says Lawton. “It’s on everyone’s mind, but today’s numbers don’t give us a sense of an impending recession.”
At this time, calendar year to date, the state generated $8.6 billion in gaming revenue, up 15.6% from the same period last year at $7.4 billion. But growth is beginning to trend downward.
“I’m comfortable with the billion-dollar streak continuing into the fall,” says Lawton. “But we’re going to start to see some turmoil.”