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Hot streak: Nevada casinos win record $13.4 billion in 2021

January 27, 2022 GMT
FILE - People play roulette at the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on March 25, 2021, in Las Vegas. Nevada casinos continued a hot streak in December, tallying a 10th straight month of $1 billion or more in house winnings and propelling end-of-year figures to a record $13.4 billion. A Nevada Gaming Control Board report released Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, provided more evidence that gambling recovered last year after coronavirus closures in 2020. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
FILE - People play roulette at the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on March 25, 2021, in Las Vegas. Nevada casinos continued a hot streak in December, tallying a 10th straight month of $1 billion or more in house winnings and propelling end-of-year figures to a record $13.4 billion. A Nevada Gaming Control Board report released Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, provided more evidence that gambling recovered last year after coronavirus closures in 2020. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
FILE - People play roulette at the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on March 25, 2021, in Las Vegas. Nevada casinos continued a hot streak in December, tallying a 10th straight month of $1 billion or more in house winnings and propelling end-of-year figures to a record $13.4 billion. A Nevada Gaming Control Board report released Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, provided more evidence that gambling recovered last year after coronavirus closures in 2020. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada casinos continued a hot streak in December, tallying a 10th straight month of $1 billion or more in house winnings and propelling end-of-year figures to a record $13.4 billion.

A Nevada Gaming Control Board report released Thursday provided more evidence that gambling recovered last year after coronavirus closures in 2020.

The calendar-year casino winnings figure was up a healthy 11.6% in 2021 compared with $12 billion in pre-pandemic 2019.

“This represents an all-time record for gaming win, beating the previous record set during calendar 2007 which totaled $12.8 billion,” board Senior Analyst Michael Lawton said.

He pointed to the rollout of coronavirus vaccines for eliminating capacity restrictions in casinos, and strong demand for gambling driven by “healthy consumer savings as the result of stimulus payments and the sustained rebound of leisure travel.”

Lawton noted that New Year’s Eve events returned to the Las Vegas Strip this year and said the return of special events and entertainment also contributed to the casino winnings results.

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In a separate report, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority counted about 32 million visitors in 2021, down 24% from 42 million in 2019.

“We’re pleased to see positive gains in our visitation during what remained a challenging year for tourism,” said Lori Nelson-Kraft, authority senior vice president of communications.

The reports came a day after renamed Harry Reid International Airport reported 39.7 million passengers last year — up dramatically from 2020, but down 21% compared with a record 50.5 million arriving and departing travelers in 2019.

Lawton noted that casino winnings statewide were up almost 9% in December compared with the same month in 2019.

In monthly figures, casinos statewide won $1.15 billion in December. Las Vegas Strip properties won $651 million, compared with $592 million in pre-pandemic December 2019.

The year-end report showed that over the last 10 years, growth in casino winnings has averaged 4.8%. Slot machine winnings averaged 5.5% growth and table increased an average of 3.4%.