Nevada casinos had a record-breaking month of gaming revenue in September. Casinos in the Silver State collected $1.27 billion. This was the 31st consecutive month for Nevada casinos to win more than $1 billion from gamblers.
Once again, Nevada gaming revenue was buoyed by Clark County. Casinos in Las Vegas and surrounding areas collected the vast majority of gaming revenue for the state.
The big month for Las Vegas came despite a significant dip in slot machine revenue. The games that generate the most money for a casino were offline at various MGM Resorts casinos on the Vegas Strip while the casino operator was under a cyberattack.
Overall, Las Vegas saw a slight downturn in visitors during the month. Even though there were slightly fewer visitors than in September last year, hotel room rates rose again.
Looking ahead, casinos are seeing solid demand in October and have high expectations for the Las Vegas Grand Prix in November. During its recent earnings call, Caesars reiterated it expects to see an increase in revenue when the F1 race hits Las Vegas.
September Las Vegas gaming revenue, comparison by area
Clark County’s gaming revenue in Sept. was $1.06 billion. This was a 2.79% increase in gaming revenue for the same period last year.
Most segments in the market saw a decrease in gaming revenue during the month. However, the Vegas Strip had a 6.94% increase in gaming revenue compared to a year ago with $741 million collected.
Laughlin was the only other segment to see an increase in gaming revenue in Clark County in September. Casinos in this region collected 6.43% more than they did a year ago.
Downtown Las Vegas saw a 7.86% decline in gaming revenue from last September. The downtown casinos collected $68.3 million compared to $74.2 million for the same month last year.
The disparity in gaming revenue between the Vegas Strip and downtown might come as a surprise to some. The Vegas Strip saw more construction disruption in September while F1 shifted into high gear installing the circuit for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Las Vegas visitation was slightly down in September
It’s possible that some leisure travelers avoided Las Vegas, specifically the Vegas Strip, in September. That number is a relative blip at this time. This could be a bigger story if the trend continues in October and November.
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), 3.33 million people visited Sin City in September. This was a tiny 0.5% decrease from the 3.35 million visitors in the same month a year ago.
The monthly visitation report from the LVCVA shows that hotel occupancy on the Vegas Strip was 84.7%. While this is a strong number, it was down 0.6% from a year ago.
Meanwhile, downtown Las Vegas hotel occupancy was up 1.6% compared to last Sept. This could be visitors relocating downtown from the Vegas Strip but there’s no specific data to support that. Changing locations could be as simple as choosing less expensive hotel rooms.
Slightly lower visitation didn’t slow the increase in hotel room prices in Las Vegas. The average daily hotel room rate in Sept. was $201.50. This was 7.7% higher than a year ago.
The number of visitors in Las Vegas for conventions was 9.5% higher than last Sept. This might explain why weekday hotel occupancy was up slightly while weekend occupancy was down more than 3% from last year.
Visitors to Las Vegas for conventions often stay on the Vegas Strip. Midweek hotel occupancy was up slightly, but the average room rate for the area was up 8% from 2022 to $215.54.
Downtown Las Vegas hotel rooms were almost $100 less per night than. The average daily hotel room rate at downtown Las Vegas casinos in September was $120.91.
This information will be particularly interesting to see when November data is reported. Hotel room rates during the Las Vegas Grand Prix have been trending much higher than a normal holiday.
Slots down, baccarat up on the Vegas Strip
As expected, slot machine revenue at Vegas Strip casinos was down in September. The NGCB doesn’t break down revenue by the casino, but it might be safe to assume the MGM Resorts cyberattack affected revenue numbers.
In September, Vegas Strip casinos saw a 6.4% decrease in slot machine revenue. Missing a week of slot machine play at 10 casinos didn’t help revenue.
Vegas Strip casinos won $383.1 million from the $4.7 billion gambled on slot machines in September.
The dip in slot machine revenue was offset by a 26.26% increase in table game revenue on the Vegas Strip for the month.
Baccarat was the table game revenue highlight for Vegas Strip casinos. The game accounted for approximately 20% of all Vegas Strip gaming revenue during the month.
According to the September 2023 gaming revenue report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), in September, Vegas Strip casinos saw an 87.81% increase in baccarat revenue last year. These casinos won $147 million from baccarat players for the month.
For comparison, blackjack was a distant second in revenue for Vegas Strip table games with $74.7 million. The top five revenue-generating games for these casinos are rounded out with sports betting winning more than roulette and craps, respectively.
Looking ahead to later this month, the Las Vegas Grand Prix expects to draw many international high rollers. Baccarat is often their game of choice. The NGCB will officially release that information in about two months.