Las Vegas Strip Begins New Decade Strong, But February Bleak Due to Global Virus

Posted on: February 28, 2020, 12:50h. 

Last updated on: February 28, 2020, 02:52h.

The Las Vegas Strip kicked off the new year in style, as casino win surged 7.5 percent to more than $572.1 million.

Las Vegas Strip casino revenue GGR
The Las Vegas Strip won big in January. But the coronavirus will likely hurt the gaming industry this month. (Image: CNN)

The Strip was fueled by a strong monthly showing on baccarat tables, which won nearly $110 million for the 51 licensed casinos – a 16.25 percent increase. Blackjack also fared well – up seven percent to $72.3 million.

Penny slots reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $114.8 million, a five percent bonus. Combined with other slots, the terminals kept $286.7 million of customer bets on an 8.4 percent win rate.

January 2020 benefited from the Chinese New Year occurring during the week of January 25, as compared to February 5 in 2018. Baccarat is the preferred game of Asian visitors.

State Tops $1B

Nevada’s 440 licensed casino floors collectively won $1.038 billion in January. That’s a 5.5 percent year-over-year premium. Over the past three months, state gaming revenue is up almost three percent to $3 billion.

January marks the eighth time in the past 12 months that Nevada casinos have topped the $1 billion mark. Nevada sportsbooks reported GGR of $20.1 million, up 36 percent. The amount wagered increased 1.1 percent to $502.5 million.

Downtown Las Vegas continues to perform well, casino win there totaling $59.1 million – up 13.5 percent. Reno also enjoyed a prosperous month, as casinos in the Washoe County Reno market won $47.5 million, right on par with the Las Vegas Strip at a 7.5 percent increase.

February Focus

January got 2020 off to a solid start, but the Las Vegas Strip, along with the rest of the state and country, is bracing for the economic damage being caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the deadly virus in Nevada, but there are in neighboring California. Casinos in Las Vegas are taking basic common sense steps to keep the virus in check, including installing additional hand sanitizers across the resorts.

The number of visitors arriving in Las Vegas from Asia is expected to sharply decline this month. Millions of Chinese people are hunkering down, and countries around the world are imposing restrictions on travelers coming from the People’s Republic.

China is the single largest outbound travel market in the world in terms of spending,” explained Matthew Dass, an economist with Tourism Economics.

The novel coronavirus that spread from Wuhan, China, has brought the global travel boom to a screeching halt. The slowdown from China into Las Vegas will reduce baccarat revenue, which always plays a substantial role in monthly casino GGR.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) says no events have been canceled as a result of the coronavirus, the agency explaining in a statement, “Our resort partners continue to monitor COVID-19 and coordinate with health officials.”