Baccarat Players Prevent Revenue Decline for Las Vegas Strip Casinos
In October, Nevada’s casino revenue reached $1.31 billion; however, proceeds from casinos on the famous Strip would have dropped had it not been for high-end baccarat players.
Some of these players may have switched from playing online baccarat to visiting land-based casinos, as online baccarat sites are some of the most popular casino entertainment on the internet.
While this was the first time since July, it was the fifth time this year that Strip casinos weren’t responsible for Nevada’s monthly gaming revenue record. Rather, the bulk of the revenue came from other areas such as the off-Strip casinos in Las Vegas and the city of Reno.
At the end of November, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said that the figure of $1.31 billion is a 2.7% increase on the same period last year. It was also the 32nd consecutive month with revenue over $1 billion, the highest-ever October total, and the state’s sixth-highest single-month total.
Baccarat Boosts Gaming Revenue
Gaming revenue from the Strip was close to $714.5 million, up 1.2% from last year. However, were it not for high-end baccarat play, there would have been a fall of 2.9%.
Baccarat revenue on the Strip totaled $89.8 million, a huge increase of 43.2% from the same time last year. There was wagering of $588.8 million, which was almost 20% higher than last year. Furthermore, the casinos kept 15.3% of all bets, up from 12.8% last year.
According to the Gaming Control Board’s senior economic analyst, Michael Lawton, slot machine revenue from the Strip’s casinos fell for the third month in a row and betting on tables games fell for the second straight month.
Tourists Continue to Flock to Nevada
At present, single-year revenue in Nevada is trending 3.5% ahead of last year when a record of $14.8 billion was set. Moreover, the Strip’s casinos are on track to have 5.4% more revenue than last year’s record $8.2 billion.
October also saw more passengers at Harry Reid International Airport, with a new single-month record of just under 5.5 million travelers. In further good news for the state, more than 315,000 travelers arrived from abroad, a volume not seen since January 2000.
However, Lawton pointed out that there isn’t a correlation between passage numbers and gaming revenue, as betting on table games and slot machines fell during October. Rather, “The incredible airport passenger totals include local passengers as well.”
More Locals Head to the Casinos
When looking at markets that cater to Las Vegas locals, there was an increase of 5.7% in gaming revenue.
In Clark County, the biggest gaming revenue increase came from casinos on the Boulder Strip, including Henderson. The gaming revenue reached $88.6 million, up 10.3% from last year. However, according to Lawton, the way that slot machine revenue is reported will have unfairly inflated the figure. September ended on a Sunday and this meant that the weekend revenue collections were included in October’s total. Nonetheless, he said that for the period of September and October, the market was up 0.8%.
Tourist Numbers Remain Constant
There were 3.6 million visitors to Las Vegas in October, almost the same number as the previous year. Hotel occupancy was at 87.87%, which was the same as in October 2022, and weekend occupancy grew by less than 1%.
In the first 10 months of this year, more than 34.1 million people visited Las Vegas, an increase of 5.8% from the same period in 2022.
According to the Vice President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Kevin Bagger, conference attendance was up by 2% in October at 640,600. The figure was helped by a number of tradeshows as well as the TwitchCon gamers event, which drew in 30,000 people.
Furthermore, according to Bagger, both the average daily hotel room rate, which was $233.22, and revenue per available room, which was $204.53, set new Strip records. The previous records were set in March.
The Strip hosted a wide range of events in October, including performances of U2 at the Sphere Las Vegas, Ed Sheeran and Pink concerts at Allegiant Stadium, and two Las Vegas Raiders home games.
Mixed Results from Northern Nevada
In the north of the state Reno was the only area that saw an increase in monthly gaming revenue. It was up by 9% from last year. The casinos saw revenue of $70.3 million, the vast majority of the $96 million that came from the entirety of Washoe County, representing a 4.9% increase.
The analyst Lawton said that the casinos in Washoe County were boosted by an uptick in slot machine revenue or 2.1% and a rise in table game revenue of 20%.
There was a 6.9% revenue drop in Sparks. This has primarily been attributed to the lessening impact of the opening of Legends Bay Casino in August 2022. There was also a drop of 3.4% at South Lake Tahoe’s casinos.
A Positive Month for Sportsbooks
Nevada’s sportsbooks saw October revenue of $68.1 million, up 20% from last year. This was despite the fact that wagering fell 11.4% to $815.6 million as the sportsbooks kept more than 8.3% of bets placed. Looking at the first 10 months of 2023, wagering is down 5.8%, but sportsbook revenue of $381.3 million has increased by close to 7.8%.
November Figures Eagerly Anticipated
The Las Vegas Grand Prix took place last month and there is widespread anticipation for November’s totals and in particular the gaming and visitation results. In both September and October it was high end baccarat ensured the Strip’s revenue didn’t decline but with the influx of visitors for the Grand Prix, there will be hope of stronger gaming figures all round.