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‘A pretty incredible month’: Nevada breaks gaming records in February

Updated March 29, 2024 - 7:15 pm

Super Bowl 58, Lunar New Year, a major convention and leap year led to high expectations for some of the best tourism numbers in history for Southern Nevada in February.

While some records were broken, others were close, and analysts concurred that February turned out to be extremely successful, but not record-breaking.

Here are some key stats for the month.

■ Casino gaming win was the best February ever and the fifth-best month in history for the Strip and sixth best for the state, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

■ The state’s 434 major casinos won $1.34 billion last month, an 8.5 percent increase over February 2023. That marked the 36th straight month that gaming win exceeded $1 billion.

■ The average daily room rate for the month was $248.35 a night, 40.6 percent higher than a year ago, but just shy of November’s record $249.31 when the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix roared through Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

■ Hotel occupancy was 83.9 percent, 1.7 percentage points higher than in February 2023, despite having the highest room inventory in Las Vegas history thanks to Fontainebleau and Durango opening their doors two months earlier.

■ Revenue per available room, a profitability metric, was an all-time record in February, and Strip baccarat win was up 81.9 percent from a year ago, in line with pre-pandemic figures, an indication that Asian gamblers were back for Lunar New Year, which was in February instead of January like last year.

■ The appearance of the National Home Builders Association’s International Builders Show and its 24,000 attendees boosted convention attendance to 764,800, the highest number since March 2023.

“It was a pretty incredible month, and if there were 31 days, we might have set an all-time record for gross gaming revenue,” said Michael Lawton, the Control Board’s senior economic analyst. “It was the new all-time record for the month of February.”

With the Super Bowl, Lunar New Year and leap year, Lawton noted that residencies and performances drew thousands to Las Vegas for weekends throughout the month.

Performances by Bruno Mars, Christina Aguilera, Adele and U2 drew their fan bases to the city on other weekends.

“Compared to other leap years, February 2024 was a record year for visitation, understanding that 2024 also has the highest room count the destination has ever had,” added Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA Research Center. “For convention attendance, we saw higher February tallies in the pre-Great Recession years of 2006, 2007 and 2008.”

While the Super Bowl featuring the Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium drew thousands of people to the Strip, slot machine win was down from a year ago, mostly because players were luckier than the casinos with a 7.7 percent casino hold in February 2024 compared with 8.1 percent in 2023.

But the Strip shined in baccarat win.

Strip baccarat win was $180.5 million, up 81.9 percent from a year ago from volume of $1 billion, up 47 percent. Casino hold on the Asian game of choice was 17.7 percent in February compared with 14.3 percent a year earlier.

Table game win statewide was the third highest all time with the second highest ever wagered. On the Strip, table game win was the third highest all time with the sixth most ever wagered.

While some tourism records weren’t broken, Carlo Santarelli, a New York-based analyst with Deutsche Bank, said gaming win beat his company’s expectations, both on the Strip and among locals casinos.

“Strip gross gaming revenue of $800.7 million for the month of February was up 12.4 percent year over year,” Santarelli said in a Thursday note to investors. “The +12.4 percent year-over-year result compared to our +6.4 percent year-over-year estimate, which underlies our company models. On a quarter-to-date basis, Strip gross gaming revenue is up 4.3 percent year over year.”

He noted that Durango’s opening boosted the locals market.

“Las Vegas locals gross gaming revenue of $242 million in February was up 3.9 percent year over year. By segment, the impact of Durango continues to show, with the Balance of Clark County gross gaming revenue up 7.4 percent year over year in February, while both the Boulder Strip and North Las Vegas segments were essentially flat to down mid-single digits. Recall that Durango opened on Dec. 5, 2023. On a quarter-to-date basis, Las Vegas locals gross gaming revenue is up 4.2 percent year over year.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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