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Nevada, Strip gaming wins for 2022 shatter records

Updated January 31, 2023 - 12:56 pm

A perfect storm of positives boosted the state’s gaming revenue last year, including one more weekend day in 2022 than 2021 and a robust calendar of sports and entertainment events.

Nevada’s casinos set an all-time record with $14.8 billion in gaming win for 2022, though it already surpassed 2021’s record performance of $13.4 billion by November, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The board on Tuesday also reported that the state’s 434 licensed casinos won $1.31 billion from gamblers, a 14.3 percent increase from December 2021 and 24.3 percent ahead of December 2019. It was the 22nd straight month of winnings more than $1 billion.

Meanwhile, Strip casinos reported a record monthly high win of $814.2 million, 25.1 percent higher year over year and the largest percentage increase out of the 20 state markets monitored by the Control Board.

Numerous records were broken, according to Michael Lawton, the Control Board’s senior economic analyst, despite six large casinos permanently closing and only one new casino opening in 2022.

Gone from the casino landscape are Station Casinos’ Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho, Fiesta Henderson and Wild Wild West on Tropicana Avenue west of Interstate 15. Other closures include Terrible’s in Jean and the Tahoe Biltmore in Northern Nevada.

The only new casino to begin operations last year was the Legends Bay Casino in Sparks.

Shattering records

Among the records shattered as a result of December’s big month:

— Every market statewide recorded increases over calendar year 2021 with the exception of Boulder Highway, which decreased 0.1 percent. The only markets that did not increase over pre-pandemic 2019 were North Las Vegas and Laughlin, down 4.8 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

— Ten of the state’s submarkets posted all-time gaming win amounts in 2022, except in North Las Vegas, Boulder Highway, Laughlin, Washoe County, Reno and Lake Tahoe’s North and South Shores.

— The Strip accounted for the majority of the statewide increase in December, with the state’s markets outside of the Strip only increasing by 0.2 percent year over year.

— Gamblers put more money in slot machines on the Strip in December with $5.8 billion, more than any month in history.

— The Strip’s slot machine win in December was $405.1 million, a 7.3 percent increase over last year. Table game win on the Strip totaled $409.1 million, 49.9 percent more than a year ago.

Lawton cited a number of events last month that helped increase win, such as the Pac-12 Football Championship game between the University of Southern California and the University of Utah at Allegiant Stadium on Dec. 2; Raiders home games against the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 4 and the New England Patriots on Dec. 18; and UFC 282, featuring the light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 10.

The city also hosted the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center on Dec. 1-10, and comedian Adam Sandler performed at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Dec. 9 and 10.

All game results higher

Statewide, play in all forms of casino games were up.

Slot machine win of $803.5 million increased 2.2 percent in December from last year, and coin-in was up $1 billion, or 8.8 percent, to $12.6 billion — the highest in state history.

Table game win of $511 million increased by 40.5 percent over December 2021 with the drop — the amount wagered — up 5.8 percent to $3.4 billion.

Baccarat win in December increased 68.7 percent to $148 million, with the drop 20.3 percent higher than the previous year to $3.4 billion. Casinos played lucky with baccarat’s hold percentage at 17.3 percent in December 2022, compared with 12.3 percent a year earlier.

Sports upsets also gave casinos an edge last month.

Nevada sportsbooks won $55.2 million, up 245.9 percent from December 2021 with a hold percentage of 6.3 percent, compared with 1.6 percent last year. Gamblers wagered $880.5 million, down 13.1 percent compared with December 2021. Mobile sports wagers totaled $604.1 million, down 21.6 percent, and accounted for 68.6 percent of all wagers.

Strip performance impresses

For the year, gaming win at the Strip’s 61 licensed properties reached a record total of $8.29 billion, an increase of 17.2 percent over 2021’s $7.1 billion. Compared with calendar year 2019, gaming win increased 25.8 percent.

The Strip market accounted for 55.8 percent of total statewide win, up from 2021’s 52.7 percent. The highest percentage ever was 58.4 percent in the calendar year 2013.

Strip slot win of $4.59 billion in 2022 increased 15.1 percent year over year, following a 99.2 percent increase in 2020. Compared with 2019, slot win was up 33.3 percent, an all-time record that beat 2021.

In 2022, Strip coin-in was a record $56.39 billion increased 16.7 over 2021, after a 91.9 percent increase in 2020. The record coin-in beat the previous high of $50.91 billion set in 2007.

Strip table game win last year was $3.7 billion, a 19.8 percent year-over-year increase — an all-time record, beating the previous high of $3.6 billion set in 2013. Game drop of $25.87 billion increased 16.5 percent, after 2021’s increase of 64.5 percent.

Gaming industry analysts were impressed with the Strip’s performance, but noted locals gaming was down 1.7 percent.

Analyst Joe Greff of J.P. Morgan said in a Tuesday report to investors that the calendar affected revenue calculations with fewer days contributing to the total.

“We note the unfavorable calendar impact and comparison in the month — LV Locals slot win from Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, is pushed to January, and relative to 2019, slot win from the last Saturday and Sunday in November was pulled into December (so minus one day in 2022 vs. plus two days in 2019),” his report said.

“For the month, slot win decreased 1.7 percent versus the 2019 level with handle up 9.4 percent, and slot hold down 60 basis points at 5.5 percent, vs. a 6.2 percent average the past five years.”

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

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