Final 2021 Las Vegas Casino, Hotel Revenue Numbers Reveal Roller Coaster Year

Written By Marc Meltzer on January 24, 2022 - Last Updated on January 28, 2022
2021 Las Vegas Profits and Revenue In Las Vegas.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) recently released its annual Gaming Abstract for the fiscal year 2021. The report covers all revenue and expenses in Nevada casinos from the past fiscal year between  July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.

The public report includes unaudited, so the information may not be entirely accurate. However, the Nevada Gaming Abstract gives a good look at how casinos faired over the past year. It offers a compelling look at how casinos fared during the ups and downs of visitation over the past year.

During the fiscal year 2021, there were 302 casinos in Nevada that grossed $1 million or more in gaming revenue. Together, these casinos generated a net loss of $206.4 million. This was quite a drop from the $2.9 billion casinos made in fiscal 2020 (July 2019-June 2020).

The Gaming Abstract is more useful than the monthly gaming revenue reports issued by the NGCB. This report accounts for gaming revenue as well as money spent on rooms, food, beverage, etc. The monthly reports only include gaming revenue and no expenses.

Clark County is the Las Vegas segment of the report. This part of Nevada had 173 casinos grossing $1 million or more in gaming revenue during the fiscal year 2021. The Las Vegas area casinos had a net loss of $742.5 million. The tourism capital of Nevada was hit worse than any other part of the Silver State.

Senior NCGB analyst Michael Lawton said Las Vegas was hit hardest,

“Due to reliance on multiple market segments including international travelers, convention attendees, and customers.”

Looking deeper into the full Gaming Abstract, it’s easy to see that guests visiting Las Vegas spent more on gambling before other amenities slowly returned.

Next year’s Gaming Abstract will show how the return of shows, nightclubs, full capacity at bars and restaurants impacted casino revenue. The information contained next year should show the continued return to normalcy.

For the sake of brevity, we’ll focus on the more popular tourist destinations in Las Vegas. This will shed light on the casinos most tourists will visit on the Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas.

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Staying at the large Las Vegas Strip casinos

The 19 largest casinos in the Vegas Strip area are mostly operated by Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts. These properties are operated by large casino conglomerates and are where many tourists stay, play, eat and drink.

The Gaming Abstract confirms what many have seen over the past year. Visitation was very low in mid-2020. Hotel capacity at these casinos in July 2020 was only 41.7%.

Visitation to the Vegas Strip increased almost every month. Hotel occupancy was close to normal by June 2021, when 87.7% of rooms in the largest Vegas Strip casinos were occupied.

Anecdotally, occupancy at the casinos continued to rise for a few more months in 2021.

This year is off to a slower start than usual, thanks to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading so rapidly. While conventions have returned, they’re not back at full capacity as some are avoiding travel. It appears as though visitation should return to pre-pandemic levels in the near future.

Revenue from hotel rooms at these casinos only accounted for 26.7% of all income. As usual, all non-gaming revenue accounted for the majority of revenue at the large Vegas Strip casinos.

Nearly 60% of revenue at these casinos during the fiscal year 2021 came from hotel rooms, food, beverage, and other spending on property. Gaming accounted for more than 40% of revenue for the largest casinos on the Vegas Strip.

Gambling at the Large Vegas Strip casinos

There were fewer amenities than usual when visitors started returning to Las Vegas in late 2020 and early 2021. Similarly, the big shows and residencies so many love at the largest Vegas Strip area casinos were just getting started by mid-2021.

Many visitors spent their time in the casino during the fiscal year 2021. The gaming experience was similar to prior years and continues to mirror gaming floors. The vast majority of gaming revenue came from video poker, slot machines, and other new electronic gaming installations. Table games were second in generating revenue.

Revenue from live poker was a distant third in gaming revenue. Sportsbooks at the largest Vegas Strip area casinos ranked fourth in overall gaming revenue during the fiscal year.

Slot machines occupy most of the casino floor. While this helps overall revenue, it’s not the most efficient sector for generating revenue for these casinos.

Table games actually generated the most revenue per square foot than any other game. Slot machines were second, and the low-margin sportsbooks accounted for the lowest revenue per square foot in the largest casinos in Las Vegas.

Downtown Las Vegas casinos

Downtown Las Vegas is an entirely different experience than the Vegas Strip. While the tourist corridor sees mostly vacationers and business travelers, downtown Las Vegas has a mix of locals and tourists.

The blend of the two areas is so different that it’s difficult to make an apple to apple comparison based on business size. Many of the casinos and hotels in downtown Las Vegas are smaller and have fewer amenities to offer. This is part of the charm of visiting and staying in downtown Las Vegas.

We’ll look at all 18 casinos located in the downtown area of Las Vegas that generated at least $1 million. This will cover all of the casinos located on and near the Fremont Street Experience.

Downtown Las Vegas casinos saw a massive 462% revenue increase from the prior fiscal year. Some of the increase is due to the opening of Circa Resort and Casino.

Circa Owner Derek Stevens told News3LV,

“Downtown really got the benefit of really not having a whole lot of convention business and does an awful lot of the frequent independent travelers. The leisure business.” Stevens also owns The D and Golden Gate casinos in downtown Las Vegas and sees different visitors in the area.

Hotel room occupancy followed a similar trajectory as the Vegas Strip but was a bit slower to close in on full capacity. In July 2020, hotel room capacity was 46.3%.

This was slightly higher than the largest Vegas Strip casinos to start. However, the June 2021 occupancy only peaked at 72.9%.

Gaming revenue in downtown Las Vegas casinos is typically close to 50/50, with money spent elsewhere at the properties. Gambling odds and rules in downtown Las Vegas casinos tend to be better than the large Vegas Strip casinos. This is often a draw for visitors coming to Las Vegas specifically to hit the tables or play the machines.

During the last fiscal year, gaming revenue increased drastically and was 59% of revenue during the fiscal year. Similar to the Vegas Strip casinos, slot machines and table games lead the way for gaming revenue.

There was one major difference. The percentage of gaming revenue from sportsbooks dwarfed the Vegas Strip casinos.

Just over 20% of downtown Las Vegas gaming revenue came from sports betting. Again, the area can thank Circa. Sports bettors enjoyed its massive indoor sportsbook as well as the outdoor Stadium Swim complex where guests could watch the games on sportsbook sized while sitting in a pool or cabana.

Photo by Somchaij / Shutterstock.com
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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