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Nevada sees another record year for gaming in 2022

Updated December 29, 2022 - 11:45 am

With the month of December yet to be recorded, the state’s casinos have already drawn in gaming win that’s broken 2021’s record performance.

The state’s 459 licensed casinos reported gaming win of $13.5 billion, up 10.2 percent over the first 11 months of 2021. Last year, state casinos, which then had 463 licensees, had a total gaming win of $13.4 billion.

But November’s report was still a classic good news, bad news scenario.

The good news: The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Thursday that gaming win exceeded $1 billion for the 21st consecutive month.

The bad news: 17 of the 20 markets monitored by the Control Board were below November 2021 levels.

Michael Lawton, the Control Board’s senior economic analyst who crunches the gaming numbers, said there’s a good reason for numbers to be down from a year ago — November 2021 win totals were the third highest on record for the state and the Strip.

“November of 2021 represented a very difficult comparison for the state and the Strip with $1.3 billion and $755.1 million in total win respectively,” Lawton said in an email. “But through the first 11 months of the calendar year, every major market in the state is up calendar-year-to-date through November.”

Tough comparison

Lawton warned of “tough comparison” possibilities earlier this year when the state hit 12 consecutive months of win in excess of $1 billion. He noted that it would be hard to sustain growth when so many months were at record or near-record levels.

But the state, paced by Clark County and Las Vegas’ ability to attract visitation through high-profile entertainment and sporting events, continued to set a high bar for attracting people who made their way to casinos and dropped a few dollars into slot machines and at table games.

Lawton cited November as another month in which big special events drew crowds.

He listed Elton John performing at Allegiant Stadium on Nov. 1, The Who playing at Park MGM on Nov. 4 and 5 and T-Mobile Arena playing host to a Post Malone concert on Nov. 11. In addition, Adele opened her Strip residency at Caesars Palace on Nov. 18 and Kevin Hart had two shows at Resorts World Las Vegas on Nov. 18 and 19.

The Las Vegas Raiders had only one home game in November, playing the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 13.

Las Vegas also hosted one of its most successful convention events of the year in November, the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s Automotive Aftermarket Week gatherings at several convention centers.

While gaming win statewide was down 7.6 percent, Clark County win was off 8.4 percent to $1.06 billion and the Strip was down 11.3 percent to $669.5 million compared with November 2021.

Downtown Las Vegas declined 0.1 percent from last year to $82.8 million, after recording a best-ever $90.5 million in October 2022.

Most markets down

Of the 20 markets monitored by the Gaming Control Board, only three — Sparks, South Lake Tahoe and Wendover — showed higher numbers in November from a year earlier.

The state continued to show its reliance on Clark County with 87 percent of the state’s win attributable to the county’s gaming operations.

Lawton said game and table win on the Strip was the primary reason for this month’s decrease with a 27 percent decline and volumes that decreased 23 percent.

Statewide, slot machine play was the one bright spot for gaming win with declines recorded for table games, including blackjack, baccarat and sports wagers.

Slot win of $871.1 million increased 1.3 percent over November 2021 with the coin-in amount up 1.9 percent to $11.6 billion.

Table game win of $349.8 million decreased 24.2 percent and the drop — the amount wagered at the tables — declined 17.7 percent to $2.8 billion. Blackjack win decreased 23.1 percent and volumes were down 18 percent.

Baccarat, usually one of the most volatile gaming categories, showed a win of $58.7 million, down 37.7 percent from a year ago. Baccarat drop was off 31.3 percent from last year to $507.8 million. Players did better in November this year with the casino’s hold percentage at 11.6 percent, compared with 12.8 percent a year ago.

Nevada sportsbooks won $37.7 million, down 47.7 percent, on a hold percentage of 4.1 percent this year compared with 6.6 percent a year ago. The sportsbook handle of $1.1 billion in November 2021 was the second highest on record.

Sports wagers on mobile apps totaled $642.5 million, down 17.3 percent from a year ago and accounted for 69.2 percent of all sports bets.

Joseph Greff, a gaming industry analyst with New York-based J.P. Morgan, noted in a report to investors that gross gaming revenue levels in November were well above those in pre-pandemic 2019.

Strip win was 29 percent ahead of 2019, locals play was 39 percent better than in that year and statewide it was up 30 percent from three years ago.

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

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