At $11.9 billion, NV casinos finish 2018 with 3rd best year ever |

At $11.9 billion, NV casinos finish 2018 with 3rd best year ever

Geoff Dornan


Area: Calendar 2018 Win (Year Over Year Percentage Change)

Statewide: $11.9 billion (3%)

Carson Valley: $110.26 million (5.6%)

South Shore: $231.2 million (4.4%)

North Shore: $26.9 million (3%)

Washoe County: $865.77 million (4.4%)

Reno: $636.9 million (4.1%)

Clark County: $10.25 billion (2.7%)

The Strip: $6.59 billion (2%)

Source: Nevada Gaming Control Board

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada casinos finished 2018 with a total of $11.9 billion in win, a 3 percent increase over 2017.

That is the third highest total in state history, and just 7 percent below the record $12.8 billion win in 2007 just before the recession hit.

The state has now recorded four consecutive annual increases in terms of calendar year (January-December) in gaming win and eight year-over-year increases in the past nine years.

Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton said this is the first time all seven major markets in the state posted calendar year increases since 2004.

“This is widespread growth,” said Lawton. “We’re optimistic 2019 will continue to see gaming revenue grow.”

He said that growth will be across the state, “and not just concentrated in a few select markets.”

Of those major markets, he said the smallest increase was on the Las Vegas Strip at just 1.9 percent.

By comparison, Wendover led the way with a 6.5 percent growth followed by Sparks and the Carson Valley Area at 5.6 percent for the year.

“This is a testament to the mass market customer who is once again driving the economic growth,” Lawton said.

In December, statewide win totaled just a hair under $1 billion — $999.7 million that represents a 4.1 percent increase over December 2017. That increase came despite the fact Baccarat win was down 14.6 percent to just $102.8 million.

Carson Valley, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, reported $110.3 million in win for the year, only its third year-over-year increase in a decade. That is the area’s highest total win since 2008 and while slot win grew by 4.8 percent, Game and Table win jumped up 18.4 percent in 2018.

Carson Valley finished the year with $9.5 million in win in December, its 19th consecutive monthly increases.

South Shore casinos at Lake Tahoe had a weak December as win fell 9.1 percent to $16.8 million. The problem was a lack of customers as slot volume fell 6.6 percent and games drop was off 15 percent. The culprit was craps win which was down 48 percent or $736,000 in December.

“Other games,” where Baccarat play is reported in Nevada’s smaller markets, was also down in betting volume but, luckily according to Lawton, the casinos held 22.1 percent in December, significantly higher than average, to offset some of the other decreases.

For the year, South Shore casinos won $231.2 million, up 4.4 percent in a market that has seen annual increases only five times in the past 15 years. The 2018 win represents three consecutive increases at the lake, which hasn’t happened since 1998-2000.

Washoe County had a couple of weak months this past year but, overall, is doing quite well. Annual win of $865.8 million is Washoe’s highest win total since calendar 2008 and its fourth consecutive total win increase.

North Shore casinos at Crystal Bay won a total of $26.9 million in 2018. That’s up 3 percent over last year while North Shore was the only market in Nevada to report a decrease.

North Shore finished the year with a 2.6 percent increase in December to $2.3 million but that was against a soft comparison since the area was down 9.9 percent in December 2017.

Churchill County’s 10 non-restricted gaming locations finished the year with $21.15 million in winnings. That’s a 2.26 percent increase over 2017.

That increase came despite a weak December. The final month of 2018 brought in just $1.75 million, a 5.46 percent decrease from the previous December.

For the calendar year, the primary problem was game and table win that came in 15.3 percent below 2017. That erased the 2.9 percent increase in slot win.

While still a small part of the total gaming win, sports pools won $301 million in 2018, up 21 percent on total wagers of $5 billion. Both of those are all time records. Total wagers on sports have now set records in nine consecutive years.

The big generator is slot win which accounted for $7.7 billion in 2018. That’s up 3.8 percent and translates to 67.4 percent of total win.