Nevada Casinos Win $1B in February, But Strip Revenue Drops Two Percent Despite Increased Visitor Volume

Posted on: March 28, 2019, 11:48h. 

Last updated on: March 28, 2019, 11:48h.

Nevada casinos won $1.01 billion last month, essentially flat at a trivial 0.62 percent decline. However, things weren’t great on the Las Vegas Strip, as grossing gaming revenue (GGR) there fell nearly two percent to $591.7 million.

Nevada casinos Las Vegas revenue
The Las Vegas Strip cooled off in February, and led Nevada casinos to a decline in gaming revenue. (Image: John Locher/AP)

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) reveals sports betting delivered a $35.8 million win. Basketball led the way in revenue ($19.8 million), and football was next at $11 million.

February was the month the Super Bowl between the winning New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams took place. Handle – or total bets wagered – was down eight percent, with oddsmakers blaming fatigue on the Patriots again being in the big game for the decline. Still, oddsmakers won $10.78 million on Super Bowl 53.

All things considered, whenever we record a billion dollars in gaming win we are very pleased, although for this month, that still resulted in a very small decrease statewide,” NGCB Senior Analyst Michael Lawton told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Statewide GGR was down three percent in January.

Downtown Las Vegas enjoyed a strong February, with GGR totaling $58 million, a nine percent surge.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) said visitor volume was up 1.9 percent in Las Vegas, Convention attendance, up 8.5 percent, was responsible for the uptick.

Blame Game

The February financials display why gaming win dropped in Las Vegas last month.

Baccarat – the table game that generates the largest GGR win for Strip casinos – saw earnings decrease by more than 26 percent. Betting volumes were down 18 percent on the game, and win was, too (12.77 percent in February 2019 compared to 14.05 percent in the prior year).

Baccarat statewide was down 25.5 percent. Lawton says February was the seventh time in eight months that the table game has been in the red, but the analyst cites only poorer holds as the reason.

The Strip pushed the state casino haul into the red, but other markets also played a role. The North Shore Lake Tahoe Area in Washoe County saw GGR plummet nearly 25 percent. A winter storm made traveling to the region nearly impossible during the Presidents Day holiday weekend.

Diversifying Las Vegas

Las Vegas has become less reliant on gaming over the years, and analysts say that’s critical to the region’s economic future.

With a looming potential economic recession, Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner tells Vegas Inc this week, “There’s a lot of concern that the global economy is slowing down. In Las Vegas, there were efforts to diversify the economy following the last recession, and that’s all paid off.”

Applied Analysis analyst Jeremy Aguero says more diversification is needed.

We have made great strides over the past decade in terms of economic diversification, but we remain among the least diversified economies in the United States. That, in and of itself, is a vulnerability,” Aguero stated.

Applied Analysis recently issued a comprehensive report on tourism for the Nevada Resort Association. The research found that the tourism industry delivered the state a $67.6 billion economic impact in the 2018 fiscal year.