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Nevada sees another monthly gaming revenue record but without the Strip’s help

Statewide casino revenue tops $1.31 billion but Strip casino proceeds would have declined during the month without high-end baccarat.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz
EconomyGaming
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For the fifth time this year and the first time since July, Strip casinos weren’t the reason Nevada set another monthly gaming revenue record. 

Other reporting areas, including the Las Vegas neighborhood gaming markets and Reno, helped carry the state to more than $1.31 billion in casino revenue during October, a 2.7 percent increase from a year ago, the Gaming Control Board said Thursday. 

The statewide total, the 32nd consecutive gaming revenue month, was an all-time record for October and Nevada’s sixth-highest single-month total.

The Strip’s gaming revenue for the month of nearly $714.5 million was still an increase of 1.2 percent from a year ago but would have been a decline of 2.9 percent if it weren’t for high-end baccarat play.

Revenue from the game totaled $89.8 million, up 43.2 percent from a year earlier. Wagering of $588.8 million was almost 20 percent higher and the casinos held 15.3 percent of all bets, compared with 12.8 percent last year.

Michael Lawton, the control board’s senior economic analyst, said Strip casinos saw slot machine revenue decline for the third straight month and wagering on the games fall for the second straight month after 30 consecutive increases in monthly slot machine volume.

Nevada is trending 3.5 percent ahead of 2022’s single-year revenue record of $14.8 billion, while Strip casinos are trending 5.4 percent ahead of last year’s $8.2 billion record mark.

Also in October, passenger volume at Harry Reid International Airport set a single-month record with just under 5.5 million travelers coming through the facility during the month. October included more than 315,000 international travelers, the first time the airport has seen that number since January 2020.

Lawton, however, said the record number of passengers didn’t correlate with gaming revenue figures as wagering on slot machines and table games was down during the month.

“The incredible airport passenger totals include local passengers as well,” Lawton said. 

Las Vegas locals markets as a whole saw a 5.7 percent gaming revenue jump.

The largest gaming revenue increase in Clark County was reported by casinos on the Boulder Strip, which includes Henderson. Gaming revenue of $88.6 million was a 10.3 percent jump from a year ago but Lawton said the area benefited from the timing of reporting slot machine revenue. September ended on a Sunday, with the weekend revenue collections falling into October’s total.

“The market for the period September and October is up 0.8 percent, which removes the noise from the revenue timing during the past two months,” Lawton said.

A vendor hands out free drink coupons in front of the Horseshoe Las Vegas on the Strip on Thursday, March 23, 2023. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Tourism figures were virtually unchanged

Las Vegas visitation in October topped 3.6 million, nearly identical to a year earlier. Overall hotel occupancy of 87.7 percent matched October 2022, while weekend occupancy rates rose by less than 1 percent.

Through 10 months, Las Vegas visitor volume sits at more than 34.1 million, a 5.8 percent increase over the same time frame in 2022. 

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Vice President Kevin Bagger said convention attendance increased by 2 percent in October to 640,600, which was helped by several returning trade shows along with the TwitchCon gamers event that was held in Las Vegas for the first time and attracted around 30,000 attendees.

Bagger said the average daily hotel room rate of $233.22 and revenue per available room — a metric used by analysts to gauge profitability — of $204.53 in October were both records for the Strip. He said the previous records were set in March.

Strip resorts benefited from an active residency, concert and sports calendar in the month, which included two Las Vegas Raiders home games, multiple U2 performances at the Sphere Las Vegas and Ed Sheeran and Pink concerts at Allegiant Stadium.

But everyone will have to wait a month for November’s highly anticipated totals, which will include gaming and visitation results attributable to the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.

In Northern Nevada, Reno was the only market to report a monthly gaming revenue increase, with a 9 percent jump from a year ago. The casinos’ $70.3 million was the largest piece of the $96 million collected in all of Washoe County, which was a 4.9 percent increase.

Lawton said Washoe County casinos overall benefited from an increase in slot machine revenue of 2.1 percent and a 20 percent increase in table game results.

Sparks saw a 6.9 percent decline, primarily because of the effect of the August 2022 opening of Legends Bay Casino wearing off. South Lake Tahoe casinos saw a revenue decline of 3.4 percent.

Nevada sportsbooks reported revenue of $68.1 million, an increase of almost 20 percent, during October. Wagering declined 11.4 percent to $815.6 million, but the sportsbooks held more than 8.3 percent of all bets. Mobile sports wagering accounted for 65.9 percent of the total. 

For the first 10 months of the year, sports wagering is down 5.8 percent but revenue of $381.3 million is up almost 7.8 percent.

Caesars Palace greeters wait for guests at Harry Reid International Airport on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

10 percent increase in international airline passengers

The record-setting month at Reid Airport exceeded the previous record of 5.18 million set in October 2022. Four of the top five busiest months at the airport have been set in 2023.

Through October, Reid Airport has seen just under 48 million passengers, a 9.7 percent increase from the same period last year. In 2022, the airport saw a record 52.6 million passengers.

Meanwhile, the 10.2 percent increase in international passenger volume helped boost the 10-month overall total to 2.7 million, a nearly 30 percent increase from last year. 

Clark County Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis said the increase in international travelers was “a very encouraging sign of global aviation recovery.” She said the “unprecedented volumes” in domestic travel came as Las Vegas continued its “growth and its evolution” into a sports and entertainment destination.

Southwest Airlines expanded its influence as the airport’s busiest carrier, with more than 1.9 million passengers in October, a 14.7 percent increase from a year ago. Southwest has served 17.2 million passengers in the year’s first 10 months, an increase of 13.6 percent.

Updated at 12:28 a.m. on 11/30/2023 with Las Vegas tourism figures for October.

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