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Nevada casinos heading toward a fourth straight yearly gaming revenue record

Casinos statewide collected $1.32 billion in gaming revenue, the highest ever in May and the eighth-largest monthly total.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz

With five months in the books, Nevada’s casino industry is trending toward a fourth consecutive revenue record-breaking year.

However, analysts caution that Strip casino operators, which account for more than half of the state’s overall revenue totals, have seen their revenue totals boosted by Super Bowl LVIII and other special events.

The Strip’s 3.7 percent revenue jump in May wasn’t fueled by high-end baccarat play, but by slot machines and table games. 

According to a report released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Strip resorts reported gaming revenue of $742.5 million in May. The state’s overall gaming revenue was $1.32 billion, a record for the month and up 2.5 percent from the same time last year. May marked the state's 39th straight month with $1 billion in gaming revenue and the eighth-largest single-month total. 

“The upside stemmed primarily from better than expected slot [wagering],” Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli wrote in a research report, adding the revenue figure was stronger than forecasted. Strip casinos saw almost $403 million from slot machine revenue.

Baccarat revenue on the Strip declined almost 7 percent to $122.1 million, while wagering fell 2.4 percent to $758.1 million. The Strip saw a handful of concerts and special events primarily in Strip showrooms, although The Rolling Stones performed a concert May 11 at the 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium.

Visitation in May was just under 3.66 million visitors, the second highest monthly total this year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The Electric Daisy Carnival  (EDC) music festival and a nearly 2 percent increase in convention attendance fueled the overall number, which came in just behind the 3.67 million who visited Las Vegas in March.

Through May, Las Vegas visitation is at almost 16.9 million, 4.2 percent above the first five months of 2023.

During May, overall hotel occupancy was 86.1 percent with the average daily room rate at $200.01, up 9.1 percent from last May. Las Vegas had more than 154,000 hotel rooms in May, which includes 3,700 that were added in December by the opening of the Fontainebleau and the subtraction of 1,500 rooms in April with the closing of the Tropicana Las Vegas. 

The Strip revenue figures came amid Harry Reid International Airport reporting its second highest single-month total ever recorded of 5.2 million passengers in May.

Statewide revenue figures were mixed. Washoe County’s overall total was down less than 1 percent, including a 1 percent dip from Reno casinos but a 2 percent increase from gaming properties in Sparks. South Lake Tahoe casinos saw a 9.5 percent revenue decline.

Elsewhere in Southern Nevada, Laughlin casinos reported a 21.4 percent revenue decrease, based on a calendar anomaly covering the collection of slot machine revenue. For the first five months of the year, gaming revenue in Laughlin is down 6.2 percent.

Statewide gaming revenue through May is up 3.2 percent and the Strip is up 3.5 percent.. 

The Las Vegas locals market is up almost 6 percent through the first five months of the year, with much of the growth attributed to December’s opening of the Durango Casino Resort in southwest Las Vegas, which helped drive a 12 percent gaming revenue increase in May.

Customers gamble at the Durango Casino & Resort sportsbook bar on Jan. 19, 2024. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Nevada sportsbooks collected $36 million in revenue during May, up almost 20 percent from a year ago. However, total wagers fell 2.3 percent to $515.1 million. For the year’s first five months, revenue from sports betting is up 5.6 percent while wagering is down 5.3 percent.

Strip resort hotel rates remain steady 

In a May research report, Truist Securities gaming analyst Barry Jonas suggested Strip resort operators saw “more normalized” hotel bookings in April, May and June, following the “upsized hotel room prices” in the year’s first three months.

Jonas wrote in a research report last week that Strip hotel room rates through August align with 2023’s prices — from $129 a night to $187 a night in August for rooms across nearly 20 properties operated by Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International. 

He said July’s closing of The Mirage, which will remove 3,000 rooms from the Strip’s inventory, may provide a reason for operators to increase nightly room rates starting that month.

“It’s possible we [may] see rates improve for shorter booking windows soon after (the closure),” Jonas wrote.

Updated at 1:17 p.m. on 6/27/2024 to include Las Vegas visitation numbers for May.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. on 6/27/2024 to correct the number of consecutive revenue record years.


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