Get a good look, February may be Nevada’s last $1B month for a while Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · March 26, 2020 at 3:30 pm Take a good look at Nevada’s gaming revenues totals for February. It’s going to be a while before we see numbers like these again. The Gaming Control Board Thursday said state casinos collected more than $1 billion in gaming revenues for the second straight month, and the ninth time in the past 13 months. But with the state’s casino industry shut down since St. Patrick’s Day in an effort to slow the COVID-19 coronavirus spread – a closure that could carry deep into April – it could be months, at least, before Nevada casinos reach the $1 billion mark again. Much will depend on how long the shutdown lasts and how quickly the tourism industry comes back to life afterward. “We won’t start seeing March gaming win numbers reported until the middle of April and this information won’t be released publicly until the end of April,” said Michael Lawton, the board’s senior research analyst. “Until that time we won’t know how large the decreases will be.” In February, casinos statewide collected $1.042 billion from gamblers, a 3.05% increase from a year ago. The total represented the third-highest February number in Nevada history. Coupled with January’s 5.48% increase to $1.038 billion, Nevada gaming revenues were up 4.2% for the first two months of the year. On the Strip, gaming revenues rose 0.75% to $596.2 million. For the first two months of the year, Strip gaming revenues are up 3.94%. “While these results were overall mixed on the Strip, they don’t really mean much in the face of a casino shut down in the state of Nevada,” Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon told investors. He said hotel searches by customers into Las Vegas fell between 10% and 15% prior to the shutdown. “There will be no revenue inflow in the second half of March and the first half of April (at least),” Beynon said. “Casinos in the state are shut down for 30 days as of now, but some operators are starting to take hotel reservations for mid-April.” Beynon said he believes the ramp-up “once everything is opened” will be faster than many expect. In Reno, gaming revenues jumped 30.17% to $57.8 million. In Washoe County as a whole, gaming revenues rose 27.1% in February and the market is up 14.42% for the first two months of the year. Lawton told The Associated Press it was clear winter weather in Northern Nevada. “There were no storms in February compared to last winter,” Lawton said. “That helped bolster the numbers.” Lawton said February benefited from a favorable calendar, which included an additional weekend day plus the extra leap year day of Feb. 29. However, the Chinese New Year activities this year took place in January as opposed to February in 2019. Slot revenues statewide of $648.5 million, a 6.6% increase, helped drive the results. Wagering on slots grew 7.8% and have increased in 12 consecutive months. Sports betting Fueled by Super Bowl wagering, Nevada sportsbooks took in $491.7 million in total bets, an all-time record for the month. Revenue from sports betting was $38.1 million, a 2.2% increase. Mobile wagering accounted for $9.9 million of the sports betting revenues and $218.7 million of the wagers – 44.5% of the total sports bets in February. Other state markets The numbers were a mixed bag throughout the state. Downtown Las Vegas gaming revenues fell 4.1%, North Las Vegas was off 9.2%, and the Boulder Strip – which includes Henderson – was down 0.5%. In Northern Nevada, South Lake Tahoe was up 21.36%. Las Vegas visitation The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said visitor volume in Southern Nevada rose 4.5% to 3.33 million, with the tourism industry benefiting from leap day and the extra weekend day. Convention attendance rose 1.6% to 760,300. Of course, the numbers will fall in March and April because of the shutdown. During February, citywide occupancy during the middle of the week was 82.6%, but weekend occupancy was 94.8%. The average daily room rate was up 1.6% to $132.20 and revenue per available room rose 1.4% to $114.75. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.