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Gaming win takes August hit from coronavirus, lack of visitors

Updated September 30, 2020 - 12:32 pm

Effects of the coronavirus pandemic continued to pound the gaming industry in Nevada with gaming win below 2019 and July 2020 figures, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday.

The lack of entertainment and conventioneers continued to take its toll in overall win in the state’s largest submarkets, but some of the rural markets where large gatherings aren’t as important rebounded a little quicker in August, Control Board statistics show.

The board reported statewide revenue of $743 million, off 22.1 percent from August 2019. Clark County gaming win was off 25.1 percent to $593.9 million, the Strip was down 39.2 percent to $317.3 million and downtown Las Vegas fell 21.5 percent to $35.6 million.

In July, which had a holiday and one fewer weekend than August, win was reported at $756.8 million, a 26.2 percent decline from win in July 2019.

Strip down 39%; downtown off 20%

In July, Las Vegas Strip win was off 39.2 percent to $330.1 million.

Downtown Las Vegas win was down 20.6 percent to $41.7 million, and Clark County was off 28.8 percent to $612.9 million.

Some of the rural markets in the state had better numbers in August than the previous year. Mesquite win was up 9.5 percent to $10.6 million, outlying Washoe County was up 6.5 percent to $6.4 million, and outlying Elko County increased 7.3 percent to $8.7 million.

Carlo Santarelli, a gaming industry analyst with New York-based Deutsche Bank, said in a note to investors Wednesday that the locals market performed better than the Strip or downtown.

Santarelli said locals’ slot machine revenue increased 13.6 percent year over year and table revenue was up 1.7 percent. But Santarelli said some of the increase could be attributed to the date of data collection and how it is compared with the previous year.

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board, said several large Southern Nevada resorts remained shuttered in August: The Cromwell, Oyo, Palms, Park MGM, Planet Hollywood Resort, Rio and Tropicana.

The Mirage reopened its doors Aug. 27, Park MGM opened as the area’s only smoke-free resort on Wednesday. Oyo reopened Sept. 16, and the Tropicana reopened Sept. 17.

Planet Hollywood’s casino opens around the clock beginning Oct. 8, but rooms will be available only on weekend dates.

Record sports betting

Gamblers capitalized on the coronavirus-induced changes in sports seasons, and Nevada casinos wrote a record number of sports bets for the month. The sports pool drop — the amount bet — was $475.1 million, up 64.9 percent over a year ago.

Betting on the NBA and the NHL are not the norm for August, but this year, those leagues played postseason tournaments in limited locations to prevent the spread of the virus. The lack of an NFL preseason and numerous cancellations in college football cut a little into the usual August schedule.

Lawton said 64.3 percent of sports wagers were written on mobile apps where casinos won $11 million on $305.5 million in wagers, a 3.6 percent hold.

Overall, sports betting won $17 million, down 9.3 percent, while the drop was $475.1 million, or 64.9 percent.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority was expected to release August tourism statistics later Wednesday.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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