Coronavirus: Nevada gaming revenues fall nearly 40% in March, LV Strip down 45.6% Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · April 29, 2020 at 4:45 pm Nevada gaming revenues declined in March to the state’s lowest single-month figure in 22 years after casinos statewide were closed for nearly two weeks in an effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The figures will get even worse. The state’s gaming industry remained closed throughout April on the orders of the governor and gaming regulators. Overall in March, casinos statewide collected $618.1 million in gaming revenue, down from $1.022 billion a year ago and a decline of 39.57%, according to figures released Wednesday by the Gaming Control Board. Las Vegas Strip casinos collected $299.9 million from gaming customers in March before the closures, down 45.67% from a year ago. Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon said Strip results came in “less bad” versus his expectations. For the two-and-a-half-months the Strip was open in the first quarter, Beynon said the revenues outpaced the regional gaming market, which declined between 15% and 20% during the quarter. Nevada is the nation’s largest gaming state, producing more than $12 billion in gaming revenues a year ago. Casinos in Nevada collected more than $1 billion in casino revenues in January and February. With March in the books, statewide gaming revenues are down 10.6% for the first three months of 2020. Strip gaming revenues are down 12.4% and Washoe County, which includes Reno, is off 8.3% Nearly 1,000 casinos nationwide were ordered closed by governors, tribal governments, and gaming regulators during March in response to the growing pandemic. Restarting gaming Governor Steve Sisolak originally ordered Nevada’s casinos closed for 30 days beginning March 18, but the extended the order until the end of April. The order expires Thursday and Sisolak is expected to unveil plans for reopening portions of the state’s economy. The Control Board temporarily suspended licensee operations, which included all gaming devices, machines, games, and any equipment related to gaming activity. Last week, the regulatory agency asked casino operators to submit plans for reopening their properties. Several casino operators have listed room reservations starting in the middle of May and Wynn Resorts is offering rooms during Memorial Day Weekend, but it’s unclear when the governor will allow for casinos to reopen. Las Vegas Sands said Tuesday said it wouldn’t reopen the Venetian or Palazzo until after May 31. Beynon told investors Wednesday a reopening of the Strip would be hindered by supply constraints, as well as the effects high unemployment and consumer confidence will have on the overall economic recovery. Last week, Las Vegas Sands executives told investors the Strip’s recovery will lag behind the Asian markets, such as Macau, throughout the year. Most believe casinos nationwide will re-open with an assortment of social distancing measures and safety precautions in an effort to satisfy a wary public. Similar procedures will take place in non-gaming businesses, including restaurants, retail outlets, and entertainment venues. Several ideas have already been spelled out by casino companies, including limits on table game seats, increased spacing between slot machines, temperature checks for customers as they arrive at a property, mask protection, and gloves for both customers and employees, and enhanced cleaning operations throughout the properties. March gaming results Every reporting market in Nevada, except one, had a devastating March. Downtown Las Vegas gaming revenues declined by 25.9%. Laughlin gaming revenues declined by 38.2%. Clark County as a whole, which includes the Strip was down 38.1% In Northern Nevada, casinos in Reno saw gaming revenues fall were down 55.2% to $22.4 million and South Lake casino gaming revenues declined 43.1% to just above $9 million. Gaming revenues from casinos along the Boulder Strip in southern Nevada, which includes Henderson, were up 1.85% due to an anomaly in the timing of slot collections. The casino closure, along with the postponement of all major sports leagues, as well as the cancellation of the NCAA’s March Madness, sent Nevada sportsbooks to a 76.3% decline in total wagers compared to last March and the lowest figure for the month since 1993. Sportsbooks collected revenues of just 1.5 million, a decline of 95.5%, based on wagers of $141 million. A year ago, sportsbooks took in $596 million in wagers. Statewide, table game wagering fell 57% and slot wagering declined 54.2%. During April, gaming taxes collected by the state covering March gaming revenues fell 53.58% to $37.1 million. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.