Nevada casinos match 8-month mark for $1B in house winnings

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada casinos matched a record streak of eight straight months of $1 billion or more in house winnings in October, with travel, tourism and events returning to pre-pandemic levels in a state dependent on gambling revenues, according to several economic reports.

McCarran International Airport said Tuesday that nearly 4.2 million passengers arrived and departed in October, making it the busiest month since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority tallied nearly 3.4 million visitors in October and said nearly 82% of the region’s more than 150,000 hotel rooms were occupied.

Casinos statewide won a little more than $1.2 billion last month, matching a mark set before the Great Recession in 2007, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported.

The statewide monthly tally of casino winnings was up 19.5% compared with pre-pandemic October 2019.

The reports came on a day a wary world watched the spread of a new coronavirus variant in other countries. The omicron strain of the virus has not yet been reported in Nevada, where nearly 8,000 people have died statewide during the pandemic, or in the U.S. where almost 780,000 deaths have been recorded.

Michael Lawton, board senior analyst, attributed robust Nevada casino winnings to strong demand across gambling markets, a rebound in leisure travel and the return of special events and entertainment. He noted the month of October had five weekends this year, compared with four last year.

Lawton said the key “gaming win” figure for 2021 is now 9.2% above calendar year 2019.

Nevada reaped $71.8 million in tax revenues based on October figures, the report said.

With all four major professional U.S. sports active in October — baseball, football, basketball and hockey — Lawton said sports betting topped $1 billion for the month for the first time.

New Jersey’s sports betting industry became the first in the U.S. to take in more than $1 billion worth of bets in a single month, in September.

Lawton noted that Nevada sports books reported disappointing results in football for three consecutive weeks in November.