Las Vegas is bustling once again, and numbers released this week show that the world’s most famous casino market is approaching pre-pandemic visitor levels.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) revealed in its March 2022 Executive Summary that more than 3.33 million people visited Southern Nevada last month. That’s a nearly 50% year-over-year gain and comes within 10% of pre-pandemic March 2019.
The visitor volume return last month was largely because of the resumption of large-scale conventions. Exhibition attendance totaled 494,200, a 1,500% year-over-year improvement.
With more people in town, casino hotel rooms were better occupied. The LVCVA report shows that the market’s 150,692 hotel rooms were occupied at a rate of 80.6% — up 25% from 2021.
Just as important, average daily rate (ADR) for the rooms skyrocketed 63% to $163. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) — a measurement calculated on room revenue divided by the total room allotment — surged 137% to $131.50.
Las Vegas casino floors fared well, too. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) last month in Clark County totaled an all-time high of $1.178 billion. The Las Vegas Strip was responsible for $746.2 million. State casino win topped $1 billion for the 13th straight month.
Marching in Positive Direction
Las Vegas visitor volume is on a positive two-month trend. While January ’22 visitor volume remained 27% below the same month in 2019, February was 18% short, and March only 10% shy of their pre-pandemic numbers.
The NFL Draft being held this week on the Strip will help April’s visitor numbers, further adding to the market’s optimistic summer outlook.
There’s a lot of ‘wow’ here,” Michael Lawton, the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s senior research analyst, said regarding last month’s gaming performance. “March’s results further support strong demand for gaming activity and consumer behavior remains consistent across multiple customer segments.”
The LVCVA projects that the NFL Draft — which runs through tomorrow — will add around one million additional visitors to the April visitor volume tally.
Las Vegas’ room inventory expanded this week with the reopening of the Palms. More than two years after the off-Strip resort shuttered in mid-March 2020 because of the pandemic, the property reopened under its new ownership. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians says 766 rooms and suites are once again available.
Drive-in Traffic Improving
The March 2022 Las Vegas visitor report was positive nearly across the board. That includes drive-in traffic to the casino town from Southern California.
The daily number of automobiles crossing the California-Nevada border along I-15 averaged nearly 44,000 vehicles. That’s a 1.7% improvement from March 2019. The average number of vehicles along all major highways coming in and out of Las Vegas was about 126,800 — 5% better than March 2019.
Southern California is Las Vegas’ most important feeder market. Visitors from Los Angeles and San Diego tend to gamble more than other visitors, and typically have larger spending budgets because of their higher incomes.
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