Nevada’s Gaming Market Raises the Bar on Post-COVID-19 Activity

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What started as only a short, possibly one- or two-month suspension of operations turned into a year-long nightmare for casinos around the world. COVID-19 decimated the gaming industry last year, wiping out virtually all revenue opportunities for much of the year. Things are starting to turn around, though, and, Nevada’s casino market is raising the bar on what should be expected for short and long-term recovery. In both March and April, the state’s casinos reported over $1 billion in revenue each month.

Nevada Back in Business

Fortunately, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” doesn’t apply to COVID-19 and casino activity is better than normal. 2020 was essentially a wash for gambling properties in Nevada, but this past March produced revenue of $1.06 billion, followed by $1.039 billion the following month. The figures are impressive and, as an example of how drastically different last year was, represent an improvement of around 28,255% from what the casinos reported in the Spring of 2020.

Comparing this year’s results with those of last year doesn’t paint a complete picture, but looking at them against the figures from 2019 is a better indication of where Nevada now stands. In April 2019, casinos won $936.4 million and the recent performance is an indication that state gambling properties should be able to anticipate an even stronger summer. Previous predictions had indicated that it might take up to 18 months for the state to recover from COVID-19, but, if it continues on its current course, Nevada will stabilize itself much sooner.

Vegas Gambling Gets New Life

Casinos in certain parts of Nevada were able to reduce COVID-19 restrictions toward the end of April before ultimately lifting them further earlier this month. Even with the restrictions still in place, the Las Vegas Strip casino win was $483.4 million. That was around $18 million less than what they reported a month earlier, but was 0.3% better than what was seen two years ago. As of June 1, all COVID-19 health restrictions are expected to be removed in most of Nevada, just in time for a summer rush.

There is still a lot of work to be done, but the Silver State is about to get a massive influx of visitors. Starting next month, there are already large conventions lined up for the Las Vegas Convention Center and a number of Vegas properties. These will run throughout the rest of the year and, as a result, it’s predicted that most area resorts will see bookings reach 100% before September. This will drive gaming revenue higher and help speed up the area’s recovery.

The quick rebound has surprised more than a few people. Michael Lawton, a research analyst for the Gaming Control Board, is one of these and asserts, “The rollout of vaccines, the decrease in infection rates and the subsequent increases to capacity, along with federal stimulus, have allowed for gaming win amounts to quite honestly exceed our expectations throughout the year.”

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