Despite big metro-area declines, rural Nevada casinos saw gains in August |

Despite big metro-area declines, rural Nevada casinos saw gains in August

Geoff Dornan

A look at the main casino floor inside the Sands Regency in Reno.
Courtesy Jacobs Entertainment

CARSON CITY, Nev. — While Nevada’s major gambling markets continued to struggle in the month of August, rural areas fared much better — and in some cases were at or above what they were before Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a mass shutdown of the Silver State’s economy this spring.

Total gambling win for Nevada for the month was $743 million, a 22% decline from the August 2019 tally of $954 million, according to the newest statistics released Sept. 30 by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Still hardest hit is the Las Vegas Strip, which finished August down 39.2% — $317.3 million — from a year ago. This is mainly due to the fact a half-dozen major Strip resorts were still closed in August, including Park MGM, Planet Hollywood, the Rio and Tropicana.

Clark County as a whole was down 25% year over year.

When comparing the numbers to last month, August’s gambling win came in slightly below July’s mark of $756.8 million, which was still a vast improvement form June’s total of $566.8 million.


When comparing data to last August, Washoe County overall was down 12% to $76.3 million year over year. The majority of the problem was in Reno itself, where total win was $55 million, a 14.8% decrease, down $9.6 million. Sparks was also down 6.7%.

But when looking outside Nevada’s main metro areas, the balance of casino win in the outlying county areas of Clark, Washoe and Elko, typically known as “locals markets,” were actually up in August — 1.6%, 6.5% and 7.3%, respectively.

The Carson Valley area as a whole — which includes Minden, Gardnerville, Carson City and other areas of Douglas County not at Lake Tahoe — was another bright spot, recording a 0.6% increase (roughly $60,000 more) in August to $9.93 million.

In Carson Valley, pretty much everything except multi-denominational slot play was down. But that category was up more than 26%, accounting for $5.9 million of the total win. That increase more than offset the 34%, $148,000 decrease in games win.

South Shore Lake Tahoe casinos at Stateline were down in August, reporting $21.9 million total win for a 7.6% decrease compared to August 2019.

At the other end of the lake, North Shore casinos at Crystal Bay/Incline Village reported just $2.3 million in win. That is 14%, or $376,000 less than a year ago.

In Churchill County, total win was $1.7 million, down 4% from a year ago.


While struggling overall, Clark County did have some bright spots. Mesquite was up 9.48% to $10.6 million, and the Boulder Strip was up 29.6% to $70.9 million. Both are primarily locals markets.

In Elko County, the city of Wendover, which depends primarily on visitors from Utah, was down 8.3% to $17.2 million. But the outlying county region, which includes the city of Elko — again primarily local — was up 7.3% to $8.7 million. Total win was $25.9 million there.

Finally, sports pool win in the state was down 9.3%, or $1.7 million for the month. The total amount wagered was actually up 65%, but the amount books held was cut nearly in half to just 3.56%.

Notably, almost two thirds of bets were made on mobile apps.

NNBW Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report.