Nevada casinos take in over $1B in a first since the pandemic

A recent statement from the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that casinos in the state took in over $1 billion in "winnings" in March, the largest take since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These new figures also reveal a 72% gain from when the pandemic shutdowns started in March 2020 and a noteworthy` increase from February’s $772 million. The reported total of $1.07 billion surpassed the then-impressive $1.02 billion the board reported in March of 2019.

Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip raked in over $501 million in March 2021, a figure that represents a 67% increase from 2020. Downtown casinos claimed $70 million, which was a 63% year-over-year growth. Slot winnings across the state came to $772 million, the second-highest total ever.

I don’t believe anyone imagined this level of gaming win,” exclaimed Michael Lawton, the senior Nevada Gaming Control Board analyst when speaking to the Las Vegas Sun. He also called March 2021 “the perfect storm for gaming activity in Nevada.

Demand was obviously a driver, in addition to capacity being increased to 50% on March 15 and the NCAA basketball tournament being played, after last year’s cancellation,” he said.

Lawton further pointed out spikes in five other reporting markets that had set records for casino winnings. These were downtown Las Vegas, the Boulder Highway area, the remainder of Clark County surrounding Las Vegas, Elko County, and the Carson City area.

Lawton added that the state-wide slot winnings of $772 million was the highest since July of 2008.

Nevada sportsbooks managed around $641 million in March and won $39.3 million, only second in the nation to New Jersey where sports pools moved $859 million and won $60.7 million.

The Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, relaxed occupancy limits across the state, bringing them up from 35% to 50% on March 15. His plans include placing responsibility for coronavirus mitigation measures in the hands of local jurisdictions from May 1, and a June 1 target for the removal of all state-wide restrictions aside from face coverings.

The Gaming Control Board will also be allowing Clark County casinos 80% occupancy from May 1.

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