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State gaming win has best May ever; $1.3B collected by casinos

Updated June 30, 2022 - 6:29 pm

Nevada casinos continued their blistering win pace in May, collecting more than $1 billion for the 15th straight month.

The $1.3 billion gaming win marked the best May ever recorded and the fourth highest monthly win total in state history, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Thursday.

Most of the revenue was generated on the Strip, which benefited from another month of special events that drew big crowds. 

Analysts had warned of a possible downturn in May because it had one fewer weekend day than in May 2021. But that wasn’t the case, as Las Vegas hosted several major events including the Canelo Alvarez-Dmitry Bivol super light heavyweight title boxing match, the Electric Daisy Carnival and a performance by the Eagles.

Initially, the Control Board also attributed an additional spike in attendance and gaming win to a performance by Pearl Jam in May, but that concert was canceled.

“Nevada continued to record gaming win amounts in excess of prepandemic levels in May with $1.3 billion in win,” said Control Board Research Analyst Michael Lawton. “This month’s total win was up 32.4 percent over May 2019 and 5.7 percent over May 2021. Additionally, this month represented the 15th consecutive month that the state has recorded $1 billion in monthly gaming win.”

He also noted that passenger arrivals at Harry Reid International Airport — the third-highest month ever with 4.578 million arrivals and departures in May — was a factor in improved gaming numbers.

Gaming win figures are important to the state because taxes are collected from the win totals. Nevada has a maximum 6.75 percent tax on gross gaming revenue. Tax collections are up 21.2 percent to $970.7 million for the first 11 months of the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Weathering stiff comparison

The Strip faced a tough comparison from May 2021 and May 2019 with the unfavorable calendar, Lawton said, adding he expects similar stiff comparisons for the remainder of the calendar year.

Joseph Greff, a gaming analyst with New York-based J.P. Morgan, said the Las Vegas locals market saw some weakness in May.

“Demand in the Las Vegas locals market saw deceleration month over month, more than anticipated, which may be the lower-end locals consumer worsening,” Greff said in a Thursday report to investors.

“That said, even if we think June slows relative to May, we don’t see downside to Boyd Gaming and Red Rock Resorts’ second-quarter 2022 cash flow estimates, but further second-half deceleration could suggest modest downside to their locals second-half revenues and cash flow results,” he said.

Table games see jump

On the Strip and downtown, players flocked to table games and baccarat in May.

Table, counter and card games win of $429.9 million increased 10.4 percent and games drop of $3 billion — the amount players wagered — increased 24.8 percent from May 2021.

Baccarat win of $134.4 million increased 24 percent and baccarat drop of $790.8 million increased 60.4 percent. Baccarat’s hold percentage was 17 percent vs. 22 percent last year.

Slot machine win was up, but not as much as the win at the tables.

Slot win of $870.1 million marked a 3.5 percent increase and coin-in of $11.9 billion was up $102.3 million or 0.9 percent.

Nevada sportsbooks, in the early stages of National Basketball Association and National Hockey League playoffs and early in the Major League Baseball season, won $27 million, down 0.3 percent compared with May 2021 because of a hold percentage of 4.8 percent vs. 5.7 percent last year. Sportsbook wagers totaled $561.6 million, up 15.4 percent compared with May 2021.

Sports wagers made with mobile apps won $16.4 million, up 23.7 percent, on $397.6 million in wagers, up 33.5 percent, holding 4.13 percent. That amount accounted for 70.8 percent of total wagers.

Some markets see downturn

Las Vegas-area casinos easily generated most of the state’s gaming revenue in May — 86.7 percent of it — with most of the submarkets monitored by the Control Board showing downturns from the previous year.

In Southern Nevada, revenue was down compared with May 2021 in North Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip, Laughlin, Mesquite and outlying Clark County.

Every submarket in Washoe County was down by single-digit percentages, and South Lake Tahoe saw the biggest downturn at 13.7 percent to $17.5 million.

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

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