Nevada casinos finished out a disappointing 2020 with a rough final month as the state’s casino industry saw a 35.35% decrease in gaming revenue.
According to numbers released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Silver State casinos won $683.7 million from gamblers in December. It is a massive drop from the $1.06 billion that the casinos won in December 2019.
It is also a huge percentage fall compared to the previous month’s numbers when casinos reported an 18% dip in November.
As has been the case since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Las Vegas Strip was the area hit the hardest as gaming revenue fell by 50.66%. Strip casinos won $292 million in December 2020 compared to $591.8 million a year earlier.
The absence of two events were major contributors to the revenue decrease. One of Vegas’ biggest tourism draws, the National Finals Rodeo, was moved to Texas where COVID-19 regulations were less restrictive and could handle larger crowds.
Those same rules surrounding the virus also caused a cancellation of the New Year’s Even fireworks on the Las Vegas Strip and an overall decrease in tourism during one of the most popular times to travel to the city. For the entire year, Las Vegas Strip casinos won $3.7 billion at the tables, down 43.3% from 2019.
The board also released an abstract report that said casinos statewide saw a more than $6 billion drop in gaming revenue for the 2020 fiscal year. However, it also showed that profits for casinos increased, which can be attributed to lower payroll and maintenance costs.
Nevada Gaming Control Board senior analyst Michael Lawton told a local Fox affiliate that the December numbers were not a shock to regulators.
“December, although very weak in terms of gaming win, unfortunately, was not a huge surprise,” said Lawton.
Clark County as a whole, which is home to the Strip, witnessed a 39.3% year-over-year drop. Downtown Las Vegas casinos experienced a 27.92% fall with $45.5 million in gaming revenue.
In Northern Nevada, numbers were slightly better for operators, but still down from 2019. Reno fell 15.84%, North Lake Tahoe dropped 32.58% and South Lake Tahoe casinos had a 14% decline.
A large percentage of tax revenue in Nevada comes from the casinos. State coffers also feel the pain when gambling revenues decline.
In January, the state collected $20.4 million from casinos based on December’s numbers. It was a 40.38% drop in taxes compared to last year.