After a horrible 2020, casinos in Nevada were able to recover some ground last year. There is still more work to be done before it can claim they’ve made a full recovery, but the state’s casino industry should be pleased with the 2021 results. According to a Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) report, Nevada casinos finished 2021 with $1 billion in in-house wins for a 10th consecutive month. This is a record $13.4 billion in pretax gaming figures for the entire year.
Nevada on the Mend
Although the 2021 total almost doubles Nevada’s disastrous $7.9 billion in gaming revenue for 2020, largely due to travel restrictions and pandemic shutdowns, The Nevada Independent reported that in-house winnings reached $12 billion in 2019. That figure that was previously only twice before, in 2007-2006.
Michael Lawton, a Gaming Control Board analyst, told The Independent that casino revenues began to pick up in the first months of the year after COVID-19-related indoor capacity limitations were eased with the introduction of vaccines.
He said that the demand for gambling in 2021 was driven by “driven by healthy consumer savings as the result of stimulus payments and the sustained rebound of leisure travel.”
Gaming revenues in Clark County, Nevada, where Las Vegas is situated, jumped to above $11 billion in 2021. Downtown Las Vegas saw gaming revenues surpass $842 million for the same year, a new record.
Increase in Inbound Traffic Drives Growth
The growth in travel was evident in 2021. Harry Reid International Airport reported this week that 39.7 million passengers traveled to the airport last year. This is a significant increase over the previous year. However, it is still a decrease of 21% relative to the 50.5 million visitors the airport received in 2019.
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, more than 32.2 million people visited Las Vegas in 2021. This is nearly 25% less than in 2019, but still higher than the 19 million who visited in 2020.
Gambling activity in the state will slow down this year, but this doesn’t mean it will reach a critical low point. Lawton stated that he believes the revenues recorded over the past 10 months of 2021 will return to the pre-pandemic level of gaming win seen in calendar-year 2019.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak added about the report, “I am excited to see the continued economic progress when it comes to gaming revenues. This is a strong measure of our state’s recovery.”