Nevada casinos topped the $1 billion mark in gaming revenue for the second straight month as the state’s gambling market continues to experience a strong rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures that stemmed from it.
In April, Silver State gaming operators reported $1.039 billion in total gaming revenue, according to numbers released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The revenue is down ever so slightly from March’s $1.06 billion and up a whopping 28,255% year-over-year. Of course, it’s not useful to compare April 2021 to April 2020 as the entire brick-and-mortar casino market was shuttered, leaving only a handful of online gambling options available.
Gov. Steve Sisolak forced casinos to close in mid-March of last year and kept the entire market closed until July. It won’t be very useful to draw conclusions from year-over-year comparisons until later this year.
But regardless, the 10-figure mark is a huge benchmark and historically one that means the market is healthy.
“In Nevada, a billion-dollar win is a bellwether number,” senior research analyst for the NGCB Michael Lawton told Forbes. “We’ve only hit $1 billion in the month of April three times in our state history.”
The key to higher revenue levels comes from success at the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Even after the casino market reopened, the tourism industry was still struggling as people didn’t feel safe to travel, and there were several restrictions imposed by the government that made it tough for casinos to operate at the same profit levels they were before.
Throughout late 2020, the Strip was one of the hardest hit areas of the state. As other areas that relied more on local clientele began to return to something close to pre-pandemic levels, major Strip casinos still struggled.
It appears that the trend is turning around, however. As vaccines become more widely distributed, it’s clear that more gamblers are willing to return to casinos.
Even with the positive revenue news, tourism rates in Las Vegas are still down 27% from April 2019, which signals that a full recovery is still a year or two away. Hotel occupancy is down 24% from April 2019 and the number of guests who flew into the city is down 32%. Drive in traffic to Sin City is up 9%.
In April, the Las Vegas Strip accounted for $483.4 million of the state’s total gaming win. It’s a small increase from April 2019, which is good news for a sustained rebound and continued growth in the market. Clark County, the area that includes the entire Las Vegas Valley, reported $865.5 million in revenue from its casinos.
Downtown Las Vegas casinos won $76.2 million from gamblers, which set a record for its largest monthly win of all-time.
Outside of Clark County, Reno posted the best numbers in the state, winning $61.8 million from its mostly local gamblers.