Return of large crowds in March expected to bolster gaming numbers in next month’s report
By SiGMA's US correspondant, Buck Wargo
Gaming revenue on the Las Vegas Strip fell nearly 42% in February but large crowds descending on the city in March during spring break and NCAA men’s basketball tournament are expected to substantially grow gaming win when the numbers come out a month from now.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board report released Thursday showed:
- Total gaming win of $772.4 million in February, a 26% decrease over February 2020 when it was $1.04 billion. The January gaming win of $761.8 million was 26.5% below January 2020.
- The Las Vegas Strip had $348.4 million in gaming win, down from $596.1 million a year ago.
There’s excitement in Las Vegas that the city is on its best trajectory yet to return to normal from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak expanded capacity to casinos at 50% on March 15th and allowed for smaller conventions enabling up to 500 people to attend. The National Indian Gaming Association has since announced it will hold its annual convention and tradeshow in Las Vegas in July when it traditionally brings thousands of visitors.
The crowds in Las Vegas were massive last weekend as the NCAA tournament kicked off, and that prompted the Gaming Control Board Wednesday to send out a warning to casinos that it must enforce social distancing, mask wearing, and capacity requirements at its resort pools. Pictures and video over the weekend showed massive crowds and a lack of distancing and mask wearing.
Former Hard Rock Hotel reopening today
There’s even more excitement today with the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas reopening the former Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The Hard Rock closed in February 2020 as part of a renovation and rebranding.
Cirque du Soleil officials are planning to bring back its shows O at the Bellagio and Mystere at Treasure Island this summer. The Life is Beautiful music and arts festival set for Sept. 17 to 19 and headlined by Billie Eilish and Green Day sold out its 50,000 passes in hours.
“This resurgence about visitation and people getting excited about people traveling again is real and palpable,” said Josh Swissman, founding partner of The Strategy Organization, a casino consultant.
“It’s been busy in Las Vegas. All the data is pointing in the right direction in terms of business returning. That feels good and has me excited about what’s to come in the months ahead of us, particularly as we go into summer.”
Sports betting handle
In Nevada sports betting in February, sports pools won $31.8 million, down 16.3% or 6.2 million from February 2020, according to Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst with the Gaming Control Board. The betting handle of $554.3 million was up 12.7% or $62.5 million.
Sports books held only 5.75% versus 7.74% in February 2020. Sports wagers made with mobile apps won $10.2 million on $316.2 million in wagers, which is up 44.4% compared to last year, Lawton said. The mobile app hold was 3.23%. The mobile app handle accounted for 57.0% of total wagers.
Some $136.1 million was wagered in Nevada’s 184 sportsbooks on the Super Bowl in February when Tampa Bay defeated Kansas City. The sports book win was $12.5 million with a hold percentage of 9.2%.
In February 2020, the Super Bowl handle was $154.6 million and sports book win of $18.7 million was 12.1%.
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