Numbers released Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show that the Silver State gambling market is still struggling to rebound in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to those numbers, Nevada casinos won $821.1 million from gamblers in September, marking a 22.38 percent drop compared to September 2019, when operators brought in $1.06 billion.
With September’s results, it’s the fourth straight month that Nevada has experienced at least a 22 percent year-over-year fall. Gov. Steve Sisolak allowed casinos to reopen in early June, which saw a massive 45 percent drop in revenue statewide.
The initial drop can be attributed to the slow reopening of many casinos, but as nearly all properties are up and running again, the year-over-year declines have consistently stayed between 22-26 percent for the next three months.
The Las Vegas Strip was the hardest hit of any Nevada market with a 39.14 percent decrease, which is nearly identical to the 39.19 percent reduction it saw in both July and August. Clearly, the depressed tourism industry and the absence of large midweek conventions are wreaking havoc on Strip casinos.
Based on their business decisions, Strip casino owners don’t necessarily see a trend change any time soon. Caesars-owned Planet Hollywood is only operating its hotel Thursday-Sunday and Wynn Resorts announced that it would be halting midweek operations for both its casino and hotel at Encore Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Sands Corp announced earlier this week it was in talks to sell both of its Las Vegas Strip casinos. While the intent behind the action can’t be confirmed, there have been rumors on social media that it’s because executives believe the Las Vegas convention industry is permanently damaged.
Clark County, the southern Nevada area that is home to Sin City, made up most of the state’s revenue but was down 26.9 percent year-over-year. Downtown Las Vegas and North Las Vegas joined the Strip as the state’s biggest losers with 21.46 and 26.74 percent drops, respectively.
Northern Nevada casinos, which are less reliant on tourism, have rebounded nicely, with many areas posting revenue increases. Reno jumped 3.09 percent and neighboring Sparks saw a 7.07 percent increase.
Gaming markets outside Nevada that cater more to local gamblers, like Maryland and Ohio, have begun to see revenue increases. New Jersey saw a small jump in revenue thanks to a large increase in internet gambling. Nevada only has online sports betting and poker, while the Garden State offers all forms of traditional casino gambling online.
Within Nevada, no area prospered more than South Lake Tahoe. Its casinos generated $24.8 million in revenue, which was good for a whopping 36.32 percent increase from the $18.19 million its casinos won in September 2019.