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Nevada gaming industry broke more records in 2023

Updated February 2, 2024 - 9:17 am

For the third straight year, Nevada gaming win was higher than in its previous 12 months.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday confirmed that 2023 brought another annual record and several categories within the industry also recorded the most in history.

Slot play, table games and sports wagering all had best-ever years.

So, too, was the 2023 passenger count at Harry Reid International Airport where the Clark County Aviation Department on Wednesday reported it had eclipsed the 2022 record by 8.7 percent to 57.6 million passengers, easily bettering the 52.6 million a year earlier. Airport officials knew a record was occurring — passenger numbers topped the 2022 record by November.

“Setting a new annual record emphasizes the strength of air travel in Las Vegas and the faith in Harry Reid International Airport to deliver on a world-class customer experience,” Clark County Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis said in an emailed statement.

“We worked to raise the bar even further in 2023, as millions traveled for special events, conventions, sporting events, concerts and more,” she said. “Our attention is already focused on 2024 and meeting the continued demand for our growing region.”

New airport needed

Vassiliadis said the record passenger numbers emphasize the importance of getting to work on a proposed supplemental airport for Southern Nevada, a second commercial airport in the Ivanpah Valley south of Las Vegas. She said the Southern Nevada Supplemental Airport project reached a significant milestone in 2023 when her department received the go-ahead to begin the process of selecting a consultant to lead the environmental impact statement process.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority last week announced visitation numbers and two of the leading indicators reached record territory — average daily room rate and revenue per available room. The average room rate soared from $170.98 a night in 2022 to $191.21, an 11.9 percent increase.

Revenue per available room, or RevPAR, a financial performance measure, went up 18 percent from $135.42 in 2022 to $159.73 in 2023.

The 2023 total for visitors of 40.8 million fell short of the 2016 record of 42.9 million and convention attendance of 6 million fell short of 2019’s 6.6 million.

Hotel room inventory in Las Vegas of 154,662 is the largest ever, thanks to the openings of Durango and Fontainebleau, and the 83.5 percent occupancy rate fell well short of the record rate of 90.4 percent achieved in 1996 and 2007. The weekend occupancy rate of 90.7 percent in 2023 was shy of the 95 percent rate in 2004, 2005 and 2016.

But gaming revenue figures for 2023 were extraordinary.

Special events

“Nevada’s record level of gaming win (for 2023) can be attributed to several factors, including multiple signature special events which occurred throughout the year and steady demand for gaming-related activities by resilient customers whose behavior has remained consistent in the face of several challenges, which included inflation and rising interest rates,” Michael Lawton, the Control Board’s senior economic analyst, said in an email.

“Additionally, Nevada has continued to benefit from the surging demand for leisure travel domestically and internationally and a healthy local economy experiencing record employment levels,” he said.

The statewide win total of $15.5 billion increased 4.6 percent in 2023 after increasing 10.5 percent the year before that. Compared with pre-COVID 2019, gaming win has increased 29 percent.

The average growth rate for the past 10 years is 5.9 percent. Total win increased 3.6 percent the first six months 5.5 percent the second six months.

Record-setting performances occurred all across the casino for the state’s 439 largest licensed properties:

Slot machines

Slot win of $10.3 billion in 2023 increased 2.8 percent following the previous year’s 8.4 percent increase. Compared with 2019, slot win increased 29.6 percent, representing an all-time record for slot win beating the previous record set in 2022, which totaled $10 billion. Slot coin-in of $143.7 billion increased 2.8 percent after increasing 8 percent last year. This year’s total is an all-time record, beating the previous high of $139.8 billion set in 2022. Compared with 2019, slot volume increased 24.9 percent. Slot machines generated 66.3 percent of total win versus 67.4 percent the previous year. The house’s win percentage of 7.16 percent was unchanged during 2023 and has decreased only three times in the last 25 years.

Table games

The win of $5.2 billion increased 8.3 percent after increasing 15.2 percent the previous year, an all-time record breaking 2022’s total. Compared with 2019, win has increased 27.8 percent. Game drop – the amount wagered — of $35.4 billion increased 1.2 percent and was an all-time record beating 2022. Compared with 2019, drop has increased 19.8 percent and the house win percentage of 14.77 percent increased 0.97 points from 13.8 percent in 2022. It was the highest house win percentage over the last 20 years. Blackjack continued to reign among table games with win increasing 0.8 percent to $1.3 billion over 2022. Craps win of $467.5 million was up 4.6 percent. and roulette climbed 1.8 percent to $460.3 million, an all-time record.

Baccarat

Win of $1.5 billion — the third-highest all time — was up 28.2 percent from 2022. Volume totaled $9 billion and increased 25.6 percent. The hold percentage – the amount casinos kept – was 16.42 percent in 2023, compared with 14.47 percent a year earlier, the highest in the past 20 years. Baccarat win was $327.2 million more than in 2022 and accounted for 48.2 percent of the state’s total increase of $679.3 million.

Sports betting

Sports books won $481.3 million, an all-time record, beating the previous high by $34.5 million in 2022, and up 7.7 percent, on $8.3 billion in wagers in 2023. The amount wagered declined by 5.1 percent from 2022’s all-time record of $8.7 billion. Sports books held 5.83 percent of the amount bet last year compared with 5.13 percent a year earlier. Bettors won $240.7 million, an 18.4 percent increase from 2022 despite an 8.5 percent decline in the amount of wagers taken, $5.4 billion, on mobile sports apps. Those wagers accounted for 65.8 percent of total sports bets, down from 68.3 percent in 2022.

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

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