Nevada’s casino industry is on a roll. In November, for a record-shattering ninth month back-to-back, the gross gaming revenue (GGR) for casinos in the Silver State has topped the $1 billion mark. The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) announced the state’s latest GGR numbers on Wednesday, disclosing that casinos racked up a whopping $1.32 billion worth of house winnings in November.
With last month’s shining performance, the nine-month winning streak which started in March has now surpassed the previous eight-month record that had remained unshaken for 14 good years. The previous record was set in the eight months from October 2006 to May 2007, before the Great Recession. After the release of the statistics, Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst at the NGCB, commented on the numbers in a press briefing as follows:
“I don’t know how long the consecutive streak will last considering the fluctuations that can occur related to hold percentage, which can influence monthly gaming results. That, in addition to the outside influences we are experiencing now due to the pandemic — cancellations of flights, group bookings, and even shows — makes the upcoming months more difficult to predict. However, from a demand perspective, we are not hearing from our licensees of any imminent slowdown, which gives us confidence heading into the end of the year and into 2022.”
The $1.32 billion garnered from 433 casinos licensed in Nevada was a 71.4% jump compared to November 2020, when the state’s casinos reported $771,178,057 in GGR. Moreover, the figure is 40.9% higher than the $937,471,737 reported in November 2019, the last full month of casino operations before the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. And when we look at the performance on a month-over-month comparison, it’s an 8.2% uptick from the $1.221 billion recorded in October. Even more impressive is the fact that November is now the second-best month in 2021, following the highest ever $1.36 billion recorded in July.
Looking at the best-performing gambling segments in November, slot machines led the pack with a GGR of $860 million, followed by table games with a $461.7 million win. Nevada’s state coffers collected about $93.6 million in tax revenue from the excellent showing, which is an 87% year-on-year leap.
Fantastic Recovery From the Ruins of the COVID-19 Pandemic
It has been a year since Governor Sisolak of Nevada moved to introduce a complete shutdown of non-essential businesses across the state, including all its 400+ land-based casinos. As a result, tourism, the lifeblood of the Silver State, came to a standstill. Still, the recovery has been steady since casinos started taking in patrons at 100% capacity earlier in the year.
In Sin City, for instance, visitor volume is now up by 60.5% this year, compared to what the gambling Mecca recorded over the first 10 months of 2020. Harry Reid International Airport (formerly the McCarran International Airport) has also seen increased traffic of nearly 36 million passengers arriving and departing between January and November 2021. That’s 75% more passenger volume than recorded over the same period last year. Some of the special November events that drew large crowds in Sin City include:
- Nov 2nd: The Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show, an automotive aftermarket show that’s so far been the largest this year, attracting a crowd of 114,000
- Nov 3rd: Sting started his Colosseum residency in the Caesars Palace
- Nov 6th: Rolling Stones had a concert at the Allegiant Stadium
- Nov 6th: Paul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant at the MGM Grand Arena
- Nov 20th: World Boxing Organization Welterweight title fight – Terence Crawford vs. Shawn at the Mandalay Bay Events Center
While the performance indicates that the tourism sector thrived in 2021, industry analysts have suggested that the Silver State still has a lot of room for improvement. The volume of visitors and airport numbers continued to fall behind their heights before the pandemic in 2019. For instance, the newly named Harry Reid International Airport reported that it handled about four million passengers in November, 4.4% less than the traffic recorded over the same month in 2019. Lawton explained the notable post-pandemic recovery trend saying:
“Nevada continued to record gaming win amounts in excess of pre-pandemic levels in November. Demand is being buoyed by healthy consumer savings, the sustained rebound of leisure travel, and the return of international flights (other than Canada and Mexico), which allowed vaccinated foreign nationals to travel to the United States beginning on Nov. 8. These factors, in addition to special events and entertainment, continued to propel gaming win past 2019 levels.”
Sports Betting Continues to Blow Past Previous Records
Like the casino gaming vertical, sports betting has also been setting records in the silver state. In November, sportsbook recorded their best-ever monthly win of about $72 million after shattering the previous $61.8 million high that was achieved exactly a year ago, in November 2020.
Better still, November was also the second consecutive month that sportsbooks in the Silver State garnered a billion-dollar monthly handle. At $1.086 billion, the November wagers were just 1.4% shy of the $1.1 billion handle processed in October – the highest monthly handle recorded yet in the Silver State.
Of all the sports bets placed, 71.5% were wagered on mobile apps to record a $776.6 million mobile handle, generating $35 million in revenue from a 4.5% hold. This is the largest mobile betting percentage on both income and handle since the NGCB started tracking mobile sports betting in January last year.
Discussing the sports betting performance, Lawton, the senior NGCB research analyst, added that:
“The continued acceptance of mobile sports wagering by customers is driving these results. This month represented the highest monthly total recorded in mobile [bets] since the board began tracking these wagers in January 2020.”