Nevada gaming totals down 22.4% in September, but the north outperforms the south Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · October 28, 2020 at 4:15 pm Nevada’s COVID-19-influenced gaming revenue slide continued in September, including a third straight 39% decline on the Las Vegas Strip. But there were a few bright spots, particularly in Northern Nevada communities such as Lake Tahoe, where casinos along the picturesque south shore recorded a gaming revenue increase of more than 36% during the month. Statewide, gaming revenues fell 22.4% in September to $821.1 million, according to figures released Wednesday by the Gaming Control Board. Gaming in Nevada was halted for 78 days starting March 18 due to spreading coronavirus. Still, September’s overall figure was the highest single-month total in the state since gaming resumed in June. Through the first nine months of 2020, gaming revenues in Nevada are down 37.9% compared to 2019. The 39% drop on the Strip to $354.7 million continued a slide that began in March. During September, the Strip accounted for more than 96.3% of the state’s decrease, and the market – considered the nation’s premier gaming destination – is down 45% through September. Downtown Las Vegas, which saw the opening of Circa Casino Resort on Wednesday just after midnight – the first all-new resort built in the market in 40 years – reported a 21.4% gaming revenue decline in September. The market is down 37.6% for the calendar year. The Las Vegas locals, with the exception of North Las Vegas where several properties remain closed, saw a decrease of just 1.6% in September gaming revenues, said Gaming Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton. Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon told investors the Las Vegas locals business has a “solid” third quarter, which he said was confirmed by the quarterly earnings reports from Boyd Gaming on Monday and Red Rock Resorts on Tuesday. Northern Nevada, however, told a different story during the month. Favorable slot machine play – both in amount wagered and revenues – boosted Washoe County’s monthly totals. The market includes both Reno and Lake Tahoe. Lawton said slot machine revenues countywide jumped 6.7% while volume was up 3.2%. Washoe County gaming revenues increased 3.4% to $78.8 million, while Reno – the largest community – was up 3.1% to $57.1 million. South Lake Tahoe, where Caesars Entertainment currently operates three of the four major casino properties, reported revenues of $24.8 million, compared to $18.2 million a year ago. Lawton said a 40.9% increase in slot machine revenues was one factor, but table game revenues also jump 22.6%, which included an 83.4% increase in blackjack revenues. For the first nine months of the year, Washoe County gaming revenues are down 27.2%. Las Vegas visitation Visitation to Las Vegas during September was up almost 11% over August, but the 1.7 million total visitors were a 51% decline from a year ago, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The market continues to suffer from a lack of airline travel, as McCarran International Airport reported 1.7 million passengers in September, a nearly 61% decline from a year ago. For the sixth straight month, Las Vegas had zero convention attendees but a recent loosening of capacity limits by the governor could help spur some small meetings and conferences over the next two months. Las Vegas had a little more than 133,000 rooms available during September, due to capacity limits. Total occupancy reached 46.8% for the month as weekend occupancy was 66.1% and midweek occupancy reached 38.5%. Las Vegas resorts had an average daily room rate of $108.13, which was up 9% over August, but down 21.1% from a year ago. The city’s revenue per available room was calculated at $50.60 by the LVCVA, a decline of more than 58% compared to a year ago. Sports betting in Nevada Statewide, Nevada’s sportsbooks recorded their fourth-highest all-time wagering total during September, but revenues fell 36.8% as sports bettors had a much stronger win percentage than the operators. Sports betting revenues were $32.9 million, a decline of 36.8%, while the total amount wagered was $575.2 million, an increase of 5.3%. Because of the pandemic, which halted normal sports seasons during the spring and summer, all four professional sports leagues and college football, played during September. Mobile sports betting accounted for 55% of the total sports wagers in Nevada. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.