Nevada Casinos Set Records in May as Post-COVID-19 Travel Picks Up

In May, about 2.87 million people visited Las Vegas, a 12% increase compared to April. However, this is still about 22% less than the same period of 2019, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. A large part of the difference comes from the lack of convention visitors, which in May 2019 made up over half a million of the total visitors. The lack of international travel also impacted the total number of guests. The good news is that casino revenue is setting new records.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Numbers Give Optimism

The new information shows the state’s casinos won $1.23 billion in May, a 25% increase compared to May 2019. This passes the previous record of $1.7 billion, which was set in October 2007. According to the Gaming Control Board there is an increase in every market in May compared to 2019. 

May’s revenue is more than April 2021’s $1.04 billion and also surpasses May 2019’s $981.8 million, which at the time was considered a disappointing month, being 6% down from May 2018. With the dropping of mask and starting operation at 100%, May 2021 also marks the third consecutive month in which Nevada casinos have posted more than $1 billion in revenue. 

Michael Lawton, a research analyst for the Gaming Control Board, said that “May 2021 represents an all-time record for gaming win in Nevada and Clark County, the result of an all-time record slot win in addition to a very good baccarat month (hold related).” He added that all markets were up versus 2019, which can be attributed to strong demand, increasing consumer health, and leisure travel beginning to rebound.

Strip, Downtown Battle For Gamblers

According to Deutsche Bank, revenues from local casinos rose to $258.5 million in May, a 25.2% increase. The Las Vegas strip saw a 26.7% increase in revenue in May, with $655.4 million, compared to May 2019’s $655.4 million. However, comparing total revenue thus far this year, the Las Vegas strip is still off 13.6% compared to 2019. 

Lawton also stated that Downtown marks its second-highest win total of all time at just over $75 million, slightly below April’s $76.3 million. Its win total increased by 37.2% from May 2019. So far this year, downtown has increased by 13.2% compared to 2019.

Another high win total record was set by Washoe County, which includes Reno, at $91.9 million, up by 23% from May 2019. Lawton added that this is 21% up in 2021 compared to the same five-month period of 2019. 

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