Statewide gaming revenue sets record for January, but analysts expect slowdown
Nevada’s casino industry followed up its record-breaking gaming revenue year in 2022 with the highest total ever recorded in the month of January.
The statewide gaming revenue of $1.27 billion, reported by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Tuesday, was an 18 percent increase from a year ago and marked the 23rd straight month casinos statewide collected $1 billion or more in gaming revenue.
Strip gaming revenue of $713.2 million marked a 25.7 percent increase from January 2022.
Analysts, however, cautioned that the state’s double-digit monthly increases could eventually slow. Last January, a spike in the Omicron variant of COVID-19 reduced visitation and slowed gaming figures.
“January and February of 2022 represent the softest comparisons the Strip will be facing for the rest of the year,” control board senior economic analyst Michael Lawton said.
In a research note, J.P. Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff said Strip casino operators predicted strong January totals during “very upbeat commentary detailed on recent fourth-quarter earnings conference calls.”
Strip casinos accounted for the majority of January’s statewide increase, contributing to Clark County’s revenue total of almost $1.13 billion, a 21.6 percent increase from a year ago. Lawton said the state’s combined markets outside of the Strip increased gaming revenue by 9.4 percent in January.
He said January’s busy Las Vegas special events calendar helped propel double-digit gaming revenue increases beyond the Strip, including downtown, the Boulder Strip and the balance of Clark County.
The Las Vegas locals markets combined for $273.1 million in gaming revenue, just shy of the all-time record of $277.7 million set last March. The figure was 15.2 percent higher than a year ago.
In January 2022, Omicron reduced attendance figures for several trade shows, including the Consumer Electronics Show and World of Concrete.
“[The] trade shows returned to the Las Vegas Convention Center in January with much higher anticipated attendance this year compared to last year,” Lawton said, adding there were also two Las Vegas Raiders home games in January.
On the Strip, revenue from baccarat was $89.9 million, an increase of 38.7 percent from a year ago. Wagering on baccarat was $873.1 million, an increase of 21.1 percent. Casinos also held 10.3 percent of all baccarat wagers, compared with a 9 percent hold last year.
Slot machine revenue on the Strip jumped 24.1 percent over last year to $388.6 million, while wagering increased 24.6 percent to $4.5 billion.
The statewide gaming revenue total in 2022 was a record $14.8 billion, while Strip gaming was a record $8.2 billion.
Northern Nevada a different story
Lawton said most Northern Nevada gaming markets faced a difficult comparison with 2022 totals. Heavy snowstorms in January also played a part in diminishing gaming revenue.
In Washoe County, every reporting market outside of Sparks saw double-digit revenue declines. Sparks benefitted from the August opening of Legends Bay Casino, which helped the market produce $14.2 million in gaming revenue, an increase of 16.7 percent.
“Sparks will continue to record strong growth rates until Legends Bay results are annualized,” Lawton said.
Washoe County saw gaming revenue decline 12.9 percent to $64.7 million, while Reno casinos experienced a 19.3 percent drop to $42.1 million. Lawton also blamed the calendar in which slot revenue from certain casinos was reported in December, as the year ended on a weekend.
South Lake Tahoe casinos were a bright spot, with gaming revenue increasing almost 1.8 percent to $17.4 million.
Las Vegas tourism rebounds
Las Vegas visitation in January was just under 3.3 million travelers, a figure boosted by a large increase in convention attendance and a rebound in the market from the reduced visitation figures brought on by the Omicron variant a year ago.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said visitation increased 32.3 percent from January 2022, which saw just 2.47 million visitors. Conventions, such as CES, World of Concrete and the SHOT show, drew more than 513,000 attendees, a 72 percent jump from a year ago.
LVCVA Vice President of Research Kevin Bagger said strong convention numbers helped boost hotel occupancy to 79.1 percent, up 19.8 percentage points from January 2022. Midweek occupancy was 75.2 percent, up 23 percentage points, while weekend occupancy was 88.4 percent, 14 percentage points higher than in 2022.
The average daily room rate on the Strip was $192, 32 percent higher than a year ago.
Sportsbooks increase revenue as wagers decline
Nevada’s sportsbooks saw revenue of $50.4 million, an increase of 1 percent from a year ago despite total wagers declining 15.6 percent. Last January, sportsbooks took in a single-month record of $1.1 billion in sports bets, compared to $936.5 million this year.
Sports betting operators held almost 5.4 percent of all wagers, compared with a hold percentage of 4.5 percent a year ago.
Mobile sports betting accounted for 62.1 percent of all wagers in January.
Reid Airport sees busiest January ever
After a record-breaking 2022, Harry Reid International kept up the pace in January, welcoming just short of 4.4 million passengers.
The total was 39.5 percent above January 2022 and was the highest total ever for the month, snapping the previous record of nearly 4.16 million passengers the airport saw in January 2020. By the middle of March 2020, the pandemic essentially shut down the travel industry.
International travelers totaled 237,611 passengers during January 2023, up 151.8 percent from January 2022. In pre-COVID January 2020, the airport saw 309,091 international passengers.
Reid Airport set a single-year record of 52.6 million passengers in 2022.
Southwest Airlines, Reid’s busiest air carrier, served 1.48 million passengers in January, an increase of 33.2 percent from a year ago.
Updated at 12:14 p.m. on 2/28/2023 with Las Vegas visitor totals for January.