Nevada Win Inches Up in July

Revenue for the first full month of casino operations post-lockdown was down 26 percent versus July 2019. That’s a big step up from June’s 45 percent drop, although Las Vegas continues to struggle with softness in tourist travel and the lack of conventions.

Nevada gaming revenue totaled $756.8 million in July, a year-on-year decline of 26 percent that mostly is attributed to softness on the Las Vegas Strip.

Official returns for the casino industry’s first full month of operations after a 78-day lockdown show the Strip down year on year by 39.2 percent at $330.1 million as the market’s recovery continues to face headwinds from the pandemic.

The Strip, in fact, accounted for more than 79 percent of the July decline statewide.

“This illustrates the challenges this market is facing and will continue to face due to limited air travel, no mid-week convention business, and the lack of large-scale events and entertainment options,” said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Still, the results both statewide and on the Strip were significantly better than June’s, when Strip win was down 61 percent versus last year over the 26 days the casinos were open, and revenue statewide was down 45.5 percent.

The sequential increase “exceeded our expectations,” Lawton said.

Downtown Las Vegas, whose challenges mirror the Strip’s, also gained some traction in July, with win down 20.6 percent following a 55.6 percent drop in June.

Macquarie Securities analyst Chad Beynon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he expects the challenges facing Las Vegas to continue.

“During tough times, gamblers are more likely to avoid costly trips to the Strip or spend less. We believe these same people are more likely to stay local and gamble.”

Data from Earnest Research, a New York-based firm that tracks the credit and debit card purchases of U.S. consumers, would appear to bear this out. Compared to last year, spending on media and entertainment in Las Vegas was down 21 percent the last week of July, travel spending was down 57 percent, with the disappearance of the MICE trade likely the main culprit.

Through the first seven months of the year, gaming revenues statewide are down 43.4 percent. The Strip is down 46.7 percent. Downtown Las Vegas is down 42.2 percent. Washoe County is down 34.8 percent.