Nevada casinos continue to revel in a new “Roaring ’20s,” as so many industry executives and gaming analysts forecast would occur post-pandemic. And there seems to be no end in sight for the robust gambling taking place in Las Vegas and across the Silver State.
Statewide gross gaming revenue (GGR) in April 2022 totaled nearly $1.13 billion. Clark County casinos won $960.5 million from gamblers, with the Las Vegas Strip responsible for the majority at $593.5 million. The numbers are all-time highs for any April in the state’s long history of legal casino gambling.
April marked the 14th consecutive month that Nevada casinos have won at least $1 billion. That is also unprecedented.
“Consumers continued to display resiliency as their behavior remained consistent across multiple customer segments,” said Michael Lawton, the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s (NGCB) senior research analyst.
April ’22 represented an almost 9% year-over-year gain, and was 20.5% better than pre-pandemic April 2019. For the first four months of 2022, Nevada’s GGR is 28% higher than last year.
BTS Fuels Visitor Surge
Las Vegas casino resorts greatly benefited last month from Korean pop superstars BTS being in town and playing four sold-out concerts at Allegiant Stadium. Southern Nevada also welcomed guests arriving for the National Association of Broadcasters convention and NFL Draft.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates that more than 3.38 million travelers came to the casino town last month. That’s a 31% year-over-year gain.
While casinos saw their gaming revenues climb positively, the percentage increase from April ’21 wasn’t quite in line with the visitor volume uptick. Lawton credited that to the NFL Draft attendance disappointing — a demo that was expected to gamble much more than the BTS crowd.
Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli says that while Las Vegas tourism officials floated attendance projections as high as 600,000 people for the NFL Draft, the ultimate turnout was under 300,000.
“Given the nature of the NFL Draft and the fact that it is free to attend, we do not believe it drew a crowd with high gaming spend propensity, and we would also note that Strip room rates on the Thursday night of Draft weekend were low. Accordingly, we don’t believe the Draft was a meaningful needle mover for Strip operators,” Santarelli wrote.
Key Demo Returning
More positive news for Las Vegas casinos is that international travel began returning last month in meaningful numbers. Harry Reid International Airport counted 200,113 international passengers last month — a 600% spike from last year’s April.
Airlines increased their nonstop international service to Las Vegas’ main hub last month to 17 destinations, including Mexico, Canada, the UK, Germany, and Switzerland.
The resumption of flights represents a near total restoration of the international nonstop service Las Vegas lost in 2020,” Lawton explained.
The airport’s international passenger count last month was the highest in a single month since February of 2020. Those numbers will only further improve when Hainan Airlines resumes its thrice-weekly nonstop service with Beijing.
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