Las Vegas Airport Travel, Casino Wins Climb Higher in March

Posted on: April 27, 2021, 03:41h. 

Last updated on: April 28, 2021, 07:17h.

After a year of declining passenger totals, McCarran International Airport in March saw its numbers begin to get off the ground. Casino revenue in Las Vegas and across the state also was up in March.

McCarran International Airport
With the Luxor Hotel and Casino in the background, an aircraft takes off from McCarran International Airport near the Las Vegas Strip. The airport saw more passengers in March than in February this year. (Image: The Living Moon)

This year in March, more than 2.5 million arriving and departing passengers used McCarran Airport, according to the Clark County Department of Aviation.

That figure is about 510,000 more than the number of travelers who made their way through the airport in March 2020, a 25 percent increase.

The airport is south of downtown Las Vegas, on the east side of the Strip near the Tropicana, MGM Grand, and other major hotel-casinos.

Airport travel to and from Las Vegas has been down by millions of passengers since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. This is considered problematic in a remote desert city that relies on conventioneers and other tourists arriving in large numbers. The nearest major metropolitan area, Los Angeles, is at least four hours away by car.

However, with the nationwide rollout of vaccinations and stimulus checks, tourism has picked up in Las Vegas. More than three million vaccinations are being administered across the country every day. Nationwide, 37 percent of adults age 18 and over were fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The March air travel totals this year are up nearly 60 percent from the 1.6 million who used the Las Vegas airport this February.

In another effort to transport large numbers of people to Southern Nevada, a high-speed train is being proposed from Apple Valley, Calif., to Las Vegas. The company planning to build the train has said construction will start before July 1.

Better Gaming Revenue Totals

The increase in tourism across the state also shows up in the casino win totals that the Nevada Gaming Control Board released on Tuesday.

Statewide, casinos won over $1 billion in March 2021, a 73 percent increase over the March 2020 total of nearly $618 million. 

This is the first time the state has been over $1 billion since February 2020, a month before Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered casinos locked down. The governor issued the lockdown directive on March 17. The lockdown lasted for 11 weeks.

In Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, the casino win total last month was more than $893 million, a 63 percent increase over the March 2020 win of $546.5 million.

The Las Vegas Strip was up 67 percent, from almost $300 million in March 2020 to more than $501 million last month. Downtown Las Vegas went from $43 million in March 2020 to $71 million one year later, a 63 percent increase.

Northern Nevada Wins Soar 

Most places in Northern Nevada saw triple-digit percentage increases in the casino win. Reno recorded a revenue total of $59 million in March 2021, up from $22 million in the previous March, for an increase of 164 percent. 

Reno is seen as less reliant on airline travel than Las Vegas. It also touts other tourism advantages beside casinos, including snow skiing at nearby Lake Tahoe and other outdoor opportunities.

Statewide, the governor allowed casinos to reopen last year on June 4. Some opened right away. Others began operating again over time. A few, including the Main Street Station Casino Brewery Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, remain closed.