Indy Gaming: Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl matchup drives up Strip hotel room rates
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The first-ever Las Vegas Super Bowl is expected to smash Strip nightly hotel room rate records set last November during the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Add in the increased resort fee charges MGM Resorts recently applied to its Strip properties — costing guests an extra $37 to $50 a night — that no matter who wins Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 11, gaming analysts believe the weekend will be a big win for major Strip resorts.
“Resort fees should drive upside,” Truist Securities gaming analyst Barry Jonas wrote in a Jan. 26 research note to investors. He suggested MGM’s mid-January move to increase resort fees between $2 and $6 nightly at its 13 Strip properties might entice other companies — namely Strip rival Caesars Entertainment — to follow along.
“We estimate the increase could immediately drive roughly $25 million in annual [cash flow],” Jonas wrote, suggesting the figure could eventually top $50 million.
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the Strip saw its average daily room rate reach a yearly record of $204.42 per night in 2023. The total was boosted by a November single-month record of $270.17 per night when the price of high-end rooms during F1 weekend topped four figures. The LVCVA does include resort fees when it calculates average daily room rates.
An analysis released Monday forecasted average daily room rates during Super Bowl weekend at $573 — a total higher than any other Super Bowl host site on record. Tourism officials project that more than 330,000 visitors will come to Las Vegas over the weekend.
That interest in the NFL’s championship game may help February shatter the November room rate record.
“The Super Bowl is shaping up to become a material event,” Jonas wrote, suggesting average daily room rate increases won’t be confined to just MGM and Caesars properties.
“Unlike F1, where the benefits were primarily captured by the high-end [resorts], medium-tier properties are also commanding higher rates year over year [because of] the Super Bowl,” Jonas wrote. Most “premium Strip resorts” in the vicinity of Allegiant Stadium sold out their rooms early on through internet sales, the analyst noted.
The matchup between two of the NFL’s marquee franchises is also a factor, according to Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Daniel Politzer. He suggested the 49ers’ large fan base and San Francisco's proximity to Southern Nevada could increase room rates ahead of the Feb. 11 kickoff at Allegiant Stadium.
However, Politzer noted Wynn Las Vegas and Mandalay Bay — one of the hotel casinos closest to Allegiant — have already sold out their room inventory for the weekend.
With less than two weeks before the game, Politzer said room rates were averaging $977 a night on the Strip. He said the rate is anywhere from 135 percent to 145 percent higher than what Super Bowl LVII fans paid when the game was at State Farm Stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale a year ago.
Many fans of the 49ers and Chiefs will forgo paying four- and five-figure ticket prices for a seat inside Allegiant Stadium and settle for a seat inside a sportsbook or a casino watch party. Las Vegas, which is hosting the Super Bowl for the first time, has long been considered the place to be for the game other than the host city.
On Monday, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines added direct flights to Las Vegas from San Francisco and Kansas City for the days leading up to the game.
Sportsbook operators are predicting the game will produce a record wagering figure, surpassing the $179.8 million bet on Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, California, when the hometown Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.
Hotel room charges are just one non-gaming revenue source that will be watched closely by analysts.
What customers spend at restaurants, retail outlets and entertainment venues factor into revenue per available room calculations, an economic measure used to gauge profitability. Last year, according to the LVCVA, the revenue per available room produced by Strip resorts was a record $176.21, up almost 19 percent from 2022.
Jonas suggested that without the Super Bowl, the Strip’s non-gaming revenue could have taken a hit in the first quarter, given the absence of the construction industry's massive ConExpo-Con/Agg trade show that is held every three years. The next event is scheduled for March 2026.
Sands president labels Texas ‘an unbelievable market’ for gaming
Las Vegas Sands President Patrick Dumont didn’t provide much insight into the company’s plans for Texas during the casino operator’s fourth-quarter conference call last week.
In December, Dumont’s mother-in-law and Sands controlling stockholder Miriam Adelson spent $2 billion to acquire a 73 percent stake in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. That same month, an entity affiliated with Sands acquired eight land parcels totaling 259 acres in the Dallas suburb of Irving.
Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts during the past decade pushing for legislation to allow casinos in Texas, Dumont said the company’s efforts would continue.
“We think it's an unbelievable market,” Dumont said. “Sands is actively trying to facilitate the development of integrated resorts.”
Mark Cuban, who sold the majority stake in the Mavericks to the Adelson family and retains control of basketball operations, nonetheless gave up his seat on the NBA’s Board of Governors to Dumont.
Dumont noted the attention surrounding the family and the company’s interest in Texas.
“We like the state. We're happy with our investment there,” Dumont said. “We’ll look to be part of the business community there. But in terms of Las Vegas Sands, we're very focused on bringing integrated resorts to the state of Texas and the development opportunity that would exist there.”
News, notes and quotes
Puzzle game Tetris viewed as a growth game for PlayStudios
Eilers and Krejcik Gaming analyst Matt Kaufman recently ranked the Top 15 social gaming providers in terms of revenue for the last three months of 2023. Las Vegas-based PlayStudios was listed at No. 8.
The company, headquartered in Summerlin, reported revenue of $63.3 million during the quarter ending Dec. 31, an 11.9 percent decline from a year ago. As a comparison, the top social gaming provider, Playtika, reported revenue of $415.1 million.
Kaufman noted one positive for PlayStudios was having Tetris, a popular puzzle game, on its mobile platform. In November, the company said it extended its rights to Tetris for five years, with an additional three-year option.
“This allows the company to invest more substantially in that franchise,” Kaufman wrote in a research note last week.
NFL to Super Bowl LVIII players: ‘Don’t gamble in Vegas’
The NFL said last week that players from the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs — the participants in Super Bowl LVIII — are prohibited from betting on casino games or sports while in Las Vegas next week for the game. The teams will be staying at two non-gaming hotels at Lake Las Vegas.
According to The Washington Post, NFL players in Las Vegas but not participating in the Super Bowl are permitted to gamble in a casino, but they are not allowed to enter a sportsbook.
The NFL modified its gambling policy for players last September. Since the nationwide legalization of sports betting in 2018, the NFL has teams in 16 states with the activity. The league has suspended 12 players, at least one assistant coach and an undisclosed number of league personnel for violating the NFL's gambling policy.
The Las Vegas Raiders have not had a player, coach or executive staff member suspended for sports betting violations.
Slot maker AGS looking to pay down debt
Las Vegas-based gaming equipment provider AGS announced a refinancing plan Monday to pay down $15 million of the company’s $568.3 million in total long-term debt, a roughly 3 percent reduction.
“We estimate between the refinancing and the debt paydown, the company will save nearly $2 million of interest annually,” JMP Securities gaming analyst Jordan Bender wrote in a research note Monday.
AGS, which has grown through its business with tribal casinos in Oklahoma and other states, collects more than 70 percent of its revenue from slot machine proceeds the company shares with casino operators.
Former Gaming Commission member Bob Peccole dies
Las Vegas attorney and commercial real estate developer Bob Peccole died Jan. 21 at age 86. A native of Ely, Peccole had been a practicing attorney in Nevada since 1963.
Gov. Richard Bryan appointed Peccole to the Nevada Gaming Commission in 1985. After serving for a term, he became general counsel for the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino — now known as The LINQ Hotel + Experience. He had worked in private practice with his son, Rob, since 1994.
Slot machine operators provided games to the Québec lottery
Loto-Québec, which oversees the Canadian province's lottery, signed an agreement with slot machine giant International Game Technology (IGT) to provide video lottery terminals through a multiyear contract.
Similarly, Aristocrat Gaming also announced a deal with the Québec lottery to bring a line of its video lottery terminal games based on the company’s casino slot machine titles to the province in the early summer.
IGT and Aristocrat have offices in Las Vegas.