According to fresh data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, casinos in the Silver State have once again recorded gaming revenues that surpassed the $1 billion mark in February. The figure marks the 12th consecutive month in a row with billion-dollar wins while setting a new all-time record for the month of February.
Nevada’s Casinos Have Roared Back to Life
Starting with the early COVID-19 pandemic days in 2020, casinos in Nevada were crushed by the imposed restrictions, forced to shut down their business and bid a harsh temporary goodbye to their patrons. Accordingly and as expected, the state’s gross gaming revenues went down the hill and reached $7.8 million in 2020. Compared to the 2019 figure of $12 billion, the drop was significant and brought a lot of concern into the Silver State.
However, starting in March 2021, Nevada casinos began generating gaming revenues of $1+ billion one month after the other, without a break. The end of February confirmed the state’s casino industry has been recovering nicely thanks to the ease of the restrictions regarding casino capacities. This led to Nevada reporting a record figure of $13.4 billion in yearly gaming wins in 2021.
February, the Month of New Records on The Strip
Casinos in Nevada have reached $1.1 billion in gaming revenue in February 2022, going over the pre-pandemic numbers by 10% and surpassing the 2020 numbers by 44%. The same numbers also managed to set an all-time high in terms of February revenues. The previous February record was marked in 2013 when casinos on The Strip managed to generate $1.07 billion in revenue. Slot machines kept carrying their weight in February, generating 70% of the total gambling wins in the state and going over the 63.3% ten-year average in slot revenues.
In spite of being the shortest month in the calendar with only 28 days, the second month in the year even topped January’s numbers due to a mix of factors.
Among them, are the huge number of Super Bowl bets, the increasing number of concerts held in Vegas including Metallica, Billy Joel, or Justin Bieber, the fact that masks were no longer mandatory inside casinos and the National Hockey League All-Star Game, and the National Football League Pro Bowl events hosted by the state.
Fitch Ratings’ Colin Mansfield believes that while Nevada is back in terms of revenue, it still has some additional steps to take in terms of conventions. Numbers from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority speak of a 70% rise in the number of Vegas visitors in February compared to last February.
Nonetheless, the numbers were still 18% lower compared to 2019. Plus, the rate of convention attendance dropped 41% compared to 2019. Hotel occupancy was also down 18% in February 2022 compared to 2019. Mansfield thinks the second half of 2022 should bring about more changes here.
Hope for A Strong March?
In spite of the important momentum that Nevada is enjoying from a financial point of view, Control Board Research Analyst Michael Lawton thinks the future might not be as bright as it may seem in the upcoming months. He cited a series of geopolitical and economical factors including the continuously growing prices of petrol, the inflation triggered by the aftermath of the pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All of these elements could negatively affect the growing trends noticed in the state in the last 12 months.
MGM Resorts’ trading director Jeff Stonebeck projects a strong March based on the massive amount of bets that will be placed during the National Collegiate Athletic Association College Basketball Tournament also known as March Madness. Stonebeck called the tournament a yearly ritual for a large number of people who are now expected to make a comeback in 2022, in an attempt to escape the pandemic stress and enjoy some cool entertainment.