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Strip, downtown up in January as Nevada gaming win exceeds $1B

Updated February 28, 2020 - 11:20 am

The state’s resorts, casinos and conventions got off to a fast start in 2020.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Friday reported increases in visitor volume and convention attendance over last year and the state Gaming Control Board said Nevada casinos won more than $1 billion in January.

The two reports came a day after the Clark County Department of Aviation reported its best January on record with 4.15 million in passenger traffic arriving at McCarran International Airport.

The LVCVA reported 3.545 million people visited Southern Nevada in January, a 3.9 percent increase over January 2019. Convention attendance climbed 4.9 percent to 717,100 in January, thanks primarily to the return of the International Builders Show and its 68,000 attendees, and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show with 33,000 people.

Those two shows offset the rotation of the World of Concrete trade show, which moved to February this year after being staged in January in 2019.

Other tourism indicators were strong.

Total occupancy was up 1.9 percentage points over last year with 85.9 percent and there were 3.99 million room nights occupied, a 3.3 percent increase over 2019.

While the average daily room rate fell 2 percent to $153.40 a night, revenue per available room inched up 0.2 percent to $131.77 for the month. The average daily room rate historically has been highest in January because of the high percentage of convention visitors attending events such as CES, World of Concrete and the Shooting, Hunting Outdoor Trade Show.

As for gaming win, it was the eighth time in the past 12 months that the $1 billion mark was reached statewide. Halfway through the fiscal year, state gaming win is up 2.6 percent.

The state’s 440 licensees reported winning $1.038 billion in January, 5.5 percent ahead of January 2019.

In Clark County, win was up 5.1 percent to $904.6 million from the previous year among 215 licensees. The Las Vegas Strip win was up 7.5 percent to $572.1 million for 51 licensees and downtown Las Vegas win soared 13.5 percent to $49.1 million for 20 licensees.

The three-month gaming win trend, generally a more telling gauge of activity because it eliminates volatile swings resulting from calendar comparisons, showed a 2.8 percent increase statewide for the months of November, December and January. On the Strip, the three-month win trend was up 3 percent and in downtown Las Vegas, it climbed 4.6 percent.

Solid baccarat win — up 17 percent — and volume — up 67.3 percent — bolstered table play for January. But Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board, noted that the Chinese New Year was in February last year.

“The baccarat win and volume amounts are impressive compared to last January, however it should be noted that the Chinese New Year holiday events were held during the week of Jan. 25 this year compared to Feb. 5 last year,” Lawton said.

That sets up a complicated February comparison with Chinese New Year out of the mix, the onset of reduced travel due to the coronavirus outbreak a factor — but an additional day in the month with Leap Year.

Even without baccarat, gaming win was strong.

Drop — the amount of money wagered — was up for blackjack, craps, roulette and mini-baccarat and win for those games was up for everything but craps.

Lawton said slot machine win was up by $14.5 million, 2.2 percent, to $672.5 million statewide.

Casino win at sportsbooks rose 36 percent to $20.1 million. The drop was up 1.1 percent to $502 million.

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

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