Nevada casinos have come roaring back after the Coronavirus pandemic had them closed for a significant time last year. Now, all casinos have set a record in May by winning $1.23 billion. It’s the highest single-month win in the state’s history, blowing past a $1.165 billion record set in October 2007.
The record win came before tourist-reliant Nevada on June 1 lifted virtually all restrictions on crowds and business capacity statewide. The casino’s take has topped $1 billion for three months in a row. Even before the restrictions lifted in June, tourists were again flocking to Las Vegas casinos, and most casino resorts were allowed to return to 100% capacity.
In May, 2.9 million people visited Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, an increase of nearly 12% from April. Hotel rooms were about 71% occupied on average over the month, with weekend occupancy climbing to 88%. The visitation rates and hotel occupancy rates still have a way to go to match levels set in the same period in 2019.
Comparisons to last year weren’t relevant because casinos were closed statewide from mid-March to early June 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Michael Lawton, a senior analyst with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said the May casino win was driven by a record revenues for slot machines on the Las Vegas Strip at $358.3 million and robust baccarat revenues.
Casinos on the famed Las Vegas Strip won $655.5 million last month, up nearly 27% percent from the same month in 2019. Statewide, operators of sports books took in $477.4 million in bets, up 50% from May 2019 and won $27.1 million, up 140% from from the same month two years ago. Both were records for the month of May, Lawton said.
The May gambling revenues generated $107 million in tax revenue for the state of Nevada. Casino taxes are second only to sales tax as a percentage of Nevada’s annual budget. The state has no personal income tax.
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