Nevada casinos report 11th month of $1 billion in winnings
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada casinos continued setting revenue records in January, logging an 11th straight month of $1 billion or more in house winnings and topping results from two years ago, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic brought business across the state to a near-halt.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Friday that casinos statewide won nearly $1.1 billion last month, an increase of nearly 42% from January 2021 and up about 4% compared with the same month in 2020.
Board senior analyst Michael Lawton called the results a pleasant surprise during a month that saw a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus and airline flight cancellations caused by severe weather across the U.S.
At Harry Reid International Airport, officials reported monthly passenger traffic more than doubled from a year ago. But the 3.1 million arriving and departing passengers was still down about 1 million compared with January 2020.
Lawton pointed to a drop in attendance at the big CES gadget show, which drew some 170,000 attendees in 2020 but attracted fewer than 50,000 during the first week of January this year.
Visitor volume and hotel occupancy had been increasing in late 2021, but dropped in January, according to a Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority report. The nearly 2.5 million people it tallied represented a dramatically higher number than than January 2021, but was far below the more than 3.5 million reported in January 2020.
Casino winnings of $567.2 million on the Las Vegas Strip accounted for about half the statewide total but were down a little under 1% compared with January 2020, Lawton said. The figure also represented the lowest monthly figure during the last nine record-setting months.
Tourism has increased steadily with the relaxation of pandemic crowd size and travel restrictions that started with casino and business closures in March 2020.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted mask mandates this month at resorts and casinos, restaurants, bars, showrooms and meeting spaces, although facial coverings may still be required by businesses and at hospitals, airports and on public transportation.
Sports betting continued to surge, according to the monthly casinos report, tallying $1.1 billion in wagers. January became the fourth straight month sports books logged more than $1 billion in bets. October was the first month ever to reach that threshold.
Wagers made with mobile apps accounted for 71% of the total, Lawton said.
The state reaped more than $81.2 million in revenues based on the January figures, up more than 75% from a year ago. The figure is an important part of the state budget because casino taxes make up about 17% of state revenues, second only to sales taxes. Nevada has no personal income tax.
The state has collected more than $652 million in taxes from casinos since last June, up 35% compared with the same period a year ago.