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Nevada’s February gaming win provides snapshot before COVID-19 crisis

Updated March 26, 2020 - 11:51 am

Have a good look at the amount of money the state’s casinos won in February.

We’re not going to see totals like them for a while.

The state Gaming Control Board on Thursday reported Nevada’s 441 licensed casinos won $1.043 billion for the month, a 3 percent increase over the same month a year earlier.

It was the third straight month that gaming win exceeded $1 billion and the third-highest February total in history.

Later Wednesday, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported a 4.5 percent increase in visitor volume to 3.3 million for the month. Convention attendance was up 1.6 percent from February 2019 to 760,300.

In Clark County, gaming win at 216 properties was up 0.5 percent to $897.5 million. The Strip’s 51 licensees were up 0.7 percent to $596.2 million, but downtown Las Vegas’ 21 properties were off 4.1 percent to $55.6 million.

February numbers were expected to be higher this year because of the extra day on the calendar for Leap Year and Chinese New Year falling in February this year, but in January last year.

March will fall

But the March numbers, which will be reported at the end of April, will come tumbling down because of the 30-day closures of state casinos on March 17. With closures in effect until at least April 16, the April figures also are expected to be devastating — and may not recover for months.

But for now, the news is favorable for a state that relies on gaming taxes and fees for nearly 19 percent of its general fund. Other taxes collected by the hospitality industry represented 38.9 percent of the total in the 2018 fiscal year, according to the Nevada Resort Association.

As of Wednesday, the state collected $68.9 million in gaming taxes from February wins, a 15.6 percent increase over the previous year, the Control Board said. For the first three quarters of the 2019-20 fiscal year, the state collected $561 million, an 8.2 percent increase over the previous period.

Casinos won $648.5 million on slot machines, 6.6 percent more than in February 2019, and $394.1 million on table games, a 2.2 percent decline from the previous year.

Books do well

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board, said the state’s sportsbooks also performed well, particularly on hockey bets. February’s Super Bowl also resulted in a record amount bet for the month.

“Sports pools won $38.1 million, up 6.3 percent, or $2.2 million,” Lawton said. “Sports pool drop of $491.7 million was up 7.2 percent. This is an all-time record for the month of February.”

Hockey reported $3.1 million in win on $33.2 million in wagers holding 9.2 percent, he said.

The books won $9.9 million on $218.7 million in wagers using online apps, holding 4.54 percent. That write amount accounted for 44.5 percent of all sports wagers.

Visitation up

The LVCVA said February’s average daily room rate was $132.20, up 1.6 percent from last year, an amount that most certainly will fall in March and April. The occupancy rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 86.8 percent for the month.

Laughlin visitor volume dropped 1.9 percent to 138,900 for the month, but volume increased in Mesquite by 1 percent to 100,500. The average daily room rate increased in both locations — 12.2 percent to $47.28 in Laughlin and 10.4 percent to $72.27 in Mesquite.

Occupancy rates fell 1.6 percentage points to 61.5 percent in Laughlin, but increased 1.4 points to 77.5 percent in Mesquite.

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

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