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Strong Strip performance boosts state’s September gaming win

Updated October 31, 2023 - 6:16 pm

A strong performance on the Strip in September boosted the state’s monthly gaming win, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Tuesday.

The Strip’s 60 licensed casinos won $741.2 million from gamblers for the month, lifting the state win to $1.27 billion, a 1.7 percent increase over last year and an all-time record for any September.

The Strip win was up 6.9 percent from a year ago, offsetting declines experienced in most of the state’s other markets.

The Laughlin market also was strong, up 6.4 percent to $41.6 million, but other Southern Nevada markets — downtown Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip, North Las Vegas and Mesquite — had declines of up to 9.4 percent.

For the first quarter of the 2023-24 fiscal year, statewide win is up 2.9 percent to $3.9 billion, Clark County’s 219 licensed properties were up 3.6 percent to $3.3 billion and the Strip was up 5.5 percent to $2.2 billion for July, August and September.

“Nevada continued to record gaming win amounts in excess of pre-pandemic levels this month,” said Michael Lawton, the Control Board’s senior economic analyst who crunches the gaming numbers. “Statewide total win was 20.1 percent or $212.3 million over September 2019. This month also represented the 31st consecutive month that the state has recorded at least $1 billion in monthly gaming win.”

Lawton said special events in Las Vegas continued to boost casino play.

He noted “Weekends with Adele” returned to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace all month and Lady Gaga performed at Dolby Live inside the Park MGM Sept 2-10 and Sept. 28-30.

The Jonas Brothers performed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sept. 8, and UFC Fight Night was held at the T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 16 featuring a bout between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko. The Las Vegas Raiders’ home opener against the Pittsburgh Steeler was played at Allegiant Stadium on Sept. 24 and U2 opened the 17,500-seat Sphere for two shows on September 29-30. Canelo Alvarez defended his super middleweight titles against Jermell Charlo at the T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 30.

Casinos got lucky in baccarat and table games, winning higher amounts of money than last year despite a lower drop, the amount wagered.

Table games won $456 million, a 16.6 percent increase over last year, while the drop decreased 4.4 percent to $2.9 billion. Games hold was 15.84 percent compared with 12.97 percent last year.

Baccarat played the same way.

Baccarat win of $148.8 million increased 85.8 percent while baccarat drop of $682.1 million decreased 3.1 percent. Baccarat’s hold percentage was 21.82 percent vs. 11.38 percent last year.

The strong table and baccarat wins offset poorer performance from slot machines.

Slot win of $814.6 million decreased 5.1 percent and coin-in of $11.6 billion was down 1.4 percent. The slot win percentage was 7.01 percent compared with 7.28 percent in September 2022. Slot win has decreased in three of the last four months.

On the Strip, slot win totaled $383.1 million and decreased 6.4 percent. Coin-in totaled $4.7 billion and decreased 3.7 percent and slot hold was 8.14 percent vs. 8.38 percent.

Prior to last month, slot win last decreased in July 2022. This is the first decrease to slot volume this calendar year, ending a streak of 30 consecutive monthly increases to slot volume on the Strip going back to March 2021.

“Although table volumes have been trending down year over year since May, September marked the first month that slot volumes declined since reopening from the pandemic,” gaming industry analyst John DeCree of Las Vegas-based CBRE Equity Research said in a report to investors.

“Macroeconomic pressures and tough comps could be causing the trend in tables, however, we suspect the cyberattack that disrupted MGM’s slot systems in September could be more to blame for the decline in slot handle,” he said.

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

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