The talk in the C-suites in Las Vegas as well as at ground-level among the hard-working folks who keep the gaming and hospitality businesses humming is about how the current economic difficulties are affecting a state and city that is largely dependent on discretionary spending.
An obvious bellwether indicator of how the Nevada and Las Vegas economy is faring is the monthly gaming revenue figures from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. And the May numbers indicate that, so far, the Silver State is holding up fairly well – or at least the gambling industry is.
The May total gaming win was $1.3 billon, which was not far below the year’s monthly high in March ($1.355 billion). Nevada has now hit the billion-dollar mark in total gaming win for 15 straight months.
The May performance was a 15.2% improvement over April when the $1.128 billion gaming win was itself a slump of more than $200 million from March. The April revenue numbers could have been a sign that casino-goers were reining in their spending at the gaming tables and the slot machines because of inflation, a foundering stock market, and higher gas prices and airfares.
Despite the May revival, which was buoyed by Memorial Day weekend, it remains to be seen how a challenging economy will impact long-term consumer spending on an activity that is among the most discretionary, namely gambling.
In a year-over-year comparison, the May 2022 gaming win was about 5.7% higher than May 2021 ($1.23 billion), which was when Nevada and Las Vegas were welcoming back visitors after the worst of the shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indoor mask mandates were still in effect then.
In sports betting, the May handle in Nevada was a little more than $562 million, down 3.5% from April ($582.53 million) but up 17.8% from May 2021 ($477.2 million), according to state GCB figures.
The state’s sports betting revenue was nearly $27 million in May, up 6.4% from April ($25.37 million) and down just 0.3% from May 2021.
Sports wagering activity typically slumps during spring and summer and then spikes during football season. Baseball was the sport with the most handle in May at nearly $245 million, followed by basketball with $178.4 million.
Mobile sports betting handle was 70.1% of total handle, or about $397.8 million. That was down 6.2% from April ($424.2 million) and up 33.5% from May 2021 ($297.87 million).
Nevada sees a smaller percentage of overall sports betting from online activity than some other states because visitors are attracted to the casinos’ destination sportsbooks in places like Circa, the Westgate, Caesars Palace and others. Plus, in-person registration is required in Nevada to bet on sports over the internet. In many other jurisdictions, where sports betting handle is 90% or more on mobile devices, gamblers can register online.
There are no real money online casinos for table games and slots in Nevada. Those options are only available in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan and West Virginia.
Online poker is legal in Nevada plus those six aforementioned states.