Las Vegas Strip Revenue Down Nearly 40 Percent, Nevada Gaming Industry Reeling

Posted on: October 28, 2020, 10:35h. 

Last updated on: October 28, 2020, 12:07h.

Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip won just shy of $354.7 million in September. That was more than 39 percent year-over-decline. It marked the seventh consecutive monthly revenue loss, as COVID-19 continues to limit visitor volume and conventions remain on hold.

Las Vegas casino revenue Strip resort
Las Vegas continues to be slow amid the pandemic. The Las Vegas sign is seen here, next to a new sign promoting social distancing during the COVID pandemic. (Image: AP)

The $354.7 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR) kept by Strip casinos was $229.5 million short of the $584.2 million the same resorts won from gamblers in September of 2019.

Baccarat, the game of choice for visitors from Asia, experienced the largest year-over-year drop. The table games remain largely vacant because of scant international guests. Strip baccarat GGR fell 88 percent to just $12.7 million.

Blackjack was down 27 percent to $43.2 million, craps down 19 percent to $22.3 million, and slots down 27 percent to $96.4 million.

Statewide GGR was $821.1 million, a 22.4 percent drop. Nevada casinos won $1.059 billion in September of 2019, which is the all-time record performance for the month.

One bright spot in the September 2020 gaming win sheet was that Strip casinos won almost $38 million more than they did in August — a 12 percent month-to-month premium.

Vegas Takes Blame

Being the largest metered market in the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s (NGCB) monthly revenue report, Las Vegas has the most substantial impact on the collective state performance. And with the Strip struggling, so is the Nevada gaming industry.

Since June, when gaming resumed, the state is down 29.2 percent,” NGCB Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The Strip accounted for 96.3 percent of this month’s decrease, and since reopening in June, the Strip is down 45.2 percent.”

The Strip isn’t the only culprit. In 2020, downtown Las Vegas casino win is 37.6 percent lower, and Washoe County — home to Reno — has tumbled 27.2 percent.

Unfortunately for Nevada, Fitch Ratings doesn’t see Las Vegas rebounding for some time. Because the Strip heavily relies on travel and convention business, the ratings house is forecasting a lengthy time frame to return to pre-COVID-19 revenues.

“A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels is not expected until 2024,” Fitch analysts opined earlier this month. “The Las Vegas Strip will experience the slowest recovery relative to other major gaming markets and segments globally.”

Sports Revenue Fumble

There’s not much good in the Nevada GGR report, and that extends to the oddsmakers.

Nevada sportsbooks won $32.9 million last month on a hold rate of 5.72 percent. That’s a 37 percent decline from September 2019.

NFL and college football handle totaled $220 million. This figure was down from $377.5 million. The house won $10.67 million of the money wagered, a nearly 73 percent drop.

The good news is sports betting is expected to increase this month and throughout the remainder of the pro and college football seasons with the opening of Circa. The sport-focused resort in downtown Las Vegas comes with the largest sportsbook in the world, as well as an outdoor pool complex with sports betting called Stadium Swim.

The Circa is the first from-the-ground-up casino resort there in four decades.