Strip casino results drove Nevada to a record gaming revenue total for April as the state recorded its 26th consecutive month collecting $1 billion or more from gamblers.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board said Wednesday the statewide revenue total of $1.2 billion was a 2.8 percent increase from a year ago and only the fifth time the state has collected $1 billion or more in the month.
Strip casinos collected $624.7 million from customers, a 5.3 percent increase from a year ago. Meanwhile, downtown Las Vegas casinos saw a 10.6 percent gaming revenue increase to $74.5 million.
Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli told investors Strip casino results were actually slightly off the projection his firm made going into the month because of a lower-than-normal hold percentage on baccarat. Wagering was up almost 12 percent but revenue on the game declined 11.3 percent.
“Comparisons get increasingly harder as we move into May and the summer months, and we believe it is likely that negative monthly gaming revenue comparisons will be the norm over the balance of the 2023 second quarter and the third quarter,” Santarelli wrote in a research note.
Michael Lawton, the control board’s senior economic analyst, said Strip and downtown casinos benefitted from a heavy special event calendar as well as the mid-April return of the National Association of Broadcasters convention.
Through the first four months of 2023, statewide gaming revenue is up 6.6 percent compared to 2022’s single-year record of $14.8 billion. Strip casinos are 10.7 percent ahead of last year’s record $8.2 billion total and downtown casinos are up 10.4 percent for the first four months.
While Strip and downtown casinos had success in April, the Las Vegas locals gaming market as a whole suffered a 2 percent decline to $232.4 million.
The balance of Clark County, which includes unincorporated areas of Southern Nevada, saw a 6.3 percent revenue drop to $131.1 million. North Las Vegas casino revenue declined less than 1 percent to $24.6 million.
Those dips were offset by a 5.7 percent increase on the Boulder Strip, which includes Henderson.
Clark County as a whole saw $995 million in gaming revenue, which ended a streak of 11 consecutive months of $1 billion or more.
Gaming tax collections for the fiscal year through May are $886.9 million, up less than 1 percent from a year ago.
Mixed bag in the north
Improved weather conditions and the newest casino in Sparks helped Washoe County casinos end three straight months of gaming revenue declines.
As a whole, Washoe County collected $87.3 million in gaming revenue, a 2.3 percent increase from last April. However, the county is still down by almost 6 percent from last year’s overall total.
Reno casino saw a 1.3 percent gaming revenue increase to $63 million, while Sparks, which is still benefiting from last August’s opening of Legends Bay Casino, recorded a 10.7 percent revenue jump to $15.3 million.
Unseasonably cold weather hampered both reporting areas in Lake Tahoe during April, with both markets suffering double-digit declines.
The South Lake Tahoe market fell 26 percent in the month to almost $13.7 million while north shore casino revenue was only $1.5 million, its lowest single-month total since April 2019.
“April is not a good month in general for South Lake Tahoe due to it being a shoulder season month when you are at the end of winter but not quite summer,” Lawton said.
South Lake Tahoe casino operators are banking on the new $80 million Tahoe Event Center, which is expected to open later this year, to increase visitation to the market.
A good April for sportsbooks
Nevada sportsbooks took $32.4 million in revenue during April, a nearly 28 percent increase from a year ago, as wagering increased almost 3 percent to $598 million.
Sportsbook operators won 5.4 percent of all bets during the month, compared with 4.3 percent a year ago.
Meanwhile, wagers placed on mobile apps accounted for 66 percent of all sports bets.
Reid Airport continues an upward trend
After four months, Harry Reid International Airport has seen almost 22 percent more passengers than a year ago, which ended with the facility’s highest-ever single-year passenger total.
April saw more than 4.8 million passengers at Reid, 12.8 percent higher than a year ago. The figure fell short of March’s 4.91 million passengers, the second-highest month in the airport’s history.
Through April, Reid Airport has seen 18.3 million passengers and is well on its way to snapping last year's record of 52.6 million.
International travel continued to rebound from its pandemic doldrums with 266,536 international passengers flying into Reid Airport, 33.3 percent higher than a year ago. Through April, international passengers total just 1 million, which marks a 75 percent increase from the first fourth months a year ago.
Southwest Airlines accounted for 33 percent of Reid Airport’s overall total in April with almost 1.7 million passengers, a 19.8 percent increase from a year ago.
This story was published May 31 by The Nevada Independent and is republished here with permission.