There is nothing like breaking a record. Just ask the Milwaukee Bucks. The franchise recently broke a 50-year record after defeating the Pheonix Suns to win the 2021 NBA Finals.
While it’s not five decades, Nevada did shatter a 14-year single-month record in May by recording $1.23 billion in gaming revenue.
Nevada casinos have a record-setting month
According to figures released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the $1.23 billion generated was a 25.3% increase from May 2019. The gaming board has been comparing data to 2019 statistics since all casinos were shut down in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The previous single-month high for Nevada casino revenue was in October 2007, when the state recorded $1.165 billion in gaming revenue.
Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst for the NGCB, told the Nevada Independent, the May numbers could be attributed to record-breaking slot machine revenue and the baccarat business.
- Slot machines: $358.3 million
- Baccarat: $105.9 million
- Other gaming: $655.5 million
Nevada sports betting also has a good month
On top of a stellar month for slot machines and baccarat, Nevada sports betting also reaped the benefits of a strong May.
Sportsbooks recorded $477.4 million in betting handle an increase of 4.9% reported in April. Sports betting revenue was $27.1 million, which translated to $1.8 million in state taxes. Of the amount wagered, 62% were from online or mobile sports betting accounts.
One key metric to look out for is Nevada sportsbooks are on pace to surpass $1 billion in sports betting revenue in the next few months. The current total sits at $964.2 million.
Other contributing factors for a strong summer
These figures are due to the pent-up demand of travelers seeking sun and fun after a brutal 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given its hotel deals, new attractions, and many direct flights, Las Vegas is again booming as one of the top vacation destinations.
Although the billion-dollar casino revenue record is impressive, Nevada still isn’t at full strength. Several other components are missing from the Las Vegas strip, like international travel and its convention business, that could keep the streak going.
May marks the third month in a row the state has surpassed $1 billion in revenue, and experts anticipate it won’t be the last.
Chad Beynon, a gaming analyst for Macquarie Securities, said he expects the results to continue into the summer months, especially given the draw of new properties such as Resorts World.
In a research note, Beynon said, “Looking ahead, although a traditionally weaker month of the year, June hosted two noticeable events, the World of Concrete, the (city’s) first major convention on June 8-10, and the Resorts World Las Vegas opening on June 24, the first major opening on the Strip in more than 10 years.”
The convention business in Las Vegas is scheduled to return, with many bookings now firmly on the calendar. (Along with Las Vegas’ other bread-and-butter: concerts and shows.) However, international travel continues to move at a much slower pace.
McCarran International Airport passenger volume was down 41.7% in May compared to the same month in 2019. Additionally, McCarran only recorded 50,258 international passengers for May — all from Mexico.