Gaming win down in August as major Nevada markets struggle

Geoff Dornan / Nevada Appeal

While Nevada’s major gaming markets continue to struggle, smaller, primarily local markets are doing better and are at or above what they were a year ago before the pandemic shut down the economy.

Still hardest hit is the Las Vegas Strip which finished August at 39.2% or $317.3 million below what it was a year ago. The problem is the half-dozen major Strip resorts are still closed including Park MGM, Planet Hollywood, the Rio and Tropicana.

Clark County as a whole was down 25%, clearly accounting for the 22% decline statewide. Total gaming win for the month was $743 million.

But the primarily local markets, balance of county casinos in Clark, Washoe and Elko, were actually up — 1.6%, 6.5% and 7.3%, respectively.

The Carson Valley area, which includes valley casinos in Douglas County, was up a bit — six tenths of a percent to $9.3 million or $60,000.

In Carson Valley, pretty much everything except multi-denominational slot play was down. But that category was up more than 26%, accounting for $5.9 million of the total win. That increase more than offset the 34%, $148,000 decrease in games win.

South Shore Casinos at Tahoe were still down, reporting $21.9 million total win for a 7.6% decrease compared to August 2019. Table game play was up substantially — 26% to $6.5 million. But slot play was down more than 17% to $15.3 million.

The increase in games win was attributed to the “Other Games “category — the small market euphemism for Baccarat play. That category was up nearly 207% or $975,000 primarily because the percent casinos held was over 24% compared to 9% a year ago.

At the other end of the lake, North Shore casinos at Crystal Bay reported just $2.3 million in win. That is 14% or $376,000 less than a year ago. Game and table win was actually up six tenths of a percent to $537,000. But the majority of North Shore win comes from slots, which were down 17.6% to $1.77 million.

Washoe County overall was down 12% to $76.3 million for August. The majority of the problem was in Reno itself where total win was $55 million, a 14.8% decrease. Sparks was also down but only by 6.7%.

In Churchill County, total win was $1.7 million. That is a 4% decrease from a year ago. The problem was the 78% decrease in game and table win — $413,000 in all. But slot win was also down a bit — 1.47%.

While struggling overall, Clark County did have some bright spots. Mesquite was up 9.48% to $10.6 million and the Boulder Strip was up 29.6% to $70.9 million. Both are primarily locals markets.

In Elko County, Wendover, which depends primarily on visitors from Utah, was down 8.3% to $17.2 million. The “balance of county” which includes the city of Elko — again primarily local — was up 7.3$ to $8.7 million. Total win was $25.9 million there.

Finally, sports pool win was down 9.3% or $1.7 million for the month. The total amount wagered was actually up 65% but the amount books held was cut nearly in half to just 3.56%. Notably, almost two thirds of bets were made on mobile apps.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.