Nevada casinos completed a year-long streak of year-over-year gaming revenue decline as Silver State properties reported winning $772.4 million from gamblers in February.
According to the numbers released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, those numbers represent a 25.9% year-over-year drop. It’s the 12th straight month with a dip in revenue after casinos experienced a 26.6% fall with January’s revenue.
That streak will end next month when companies announce winnings from March. Last March, Gov. Steve Sisolak shuttered the state’s casino market in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The market was allowed to reopen in early July at 25% capacity.
Sisolak released his plans in February to begin relaxing casino restrictions. He initially allowed casinos to operate at 35% capacity before allowing a jump to 50% in March. By May, casinos will be allowed to operate at full capacity, for the first time since before the pandemic started.
Several casino executives have said that between the pandemic and the reduced capacity, the Las Vegas Strip market has been downgraded to more of a regional gaming hub, as opposed to a worldwide destination. Those sentiments have been reflected in the gaming revenue numbers as the Strip has been the area hit the hardest.
Since the reopening, Strip casinos have reported larger revenue drops than in other parts of the state. In March, Strip casinos won $348.45 million from gamblers, which was a drop of 45.55%. The Strip made up more than half of Clark County’s total gaming revenue, which fell 29.63% with $631.5 million.
As things gradually return to normal, those numbers should begin to turn around. Las Vegas-area dealer schools have seen a spike in enrollment in anticipation of that rebound.
Markets in Northern Nevada, however, saw much smaller declines, which has been the case since the pandemic began.
Reno was down 13.7% year-over-year and the nearby city of Sparks was one of the few areas that saw an increase in revenue, jumping 1.04%. South Lake Tahoe and Mesquite also saw larger year-over-year numbers with increases of 15.8% and 5.1%, respectively.
For the current fiscal year thus far, which started last July, just before the casino market was reopened, casinos have won a combined $6.1 billion, which represents a 24.6% dip compared to the same time period a year earlier.