Nevada’s $13.4bn Gaming Revenue for 2021 Breaks State Record

  • The previous total gaming revenue record for a single year was $12.8bn in 2007
  • Slot machines made up the bulk of revenue, generating $9.2bn for operators
  • In total, 11 of the 18 gambling markets in Nevada set new revenue records in 2021
  • Tourism numbers were still down significantly last year from pre-pandemic levels
Las Vegas at night
Nevada’s total gaming revenue last year reached a record-breaking $13.4bn. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Record-breaking year

Total Nevada gaming revenue reached $13.4bn in 2021, setting a new record for the state. The previous benchmark of $12.8bn came more than a decade ago in 2007. Revenue also grew 12% from the $12bn generated in 2019 before the pandemic began.

72% more than the $7.8bn figure from 2020

The Nevada Gaming Control Board released December results on Thursday. Gambling operators have impressively rebounded following the impact of the pandemic in 2020. The 2021 total gaming revenue figure is 72% more than the $7.8bn figure from 2020.

Sports betting saw great success in Nevada last year. Total betting handle reached $8.1bn, with sportsbooks earning $445.1m during the course of the year. These are both all-time records for the state. Of this total handle, about 65% came through mobile sportsbooks.

Meanwhile, slot machines were still the main driver of gambling revenue, accounting for $9.2bn last year.

A profitable December

According to the Nevada regulator’s figures, non-restricted gaming licensees generated $1.15bn in gaming revenue last month. This marked the tenth month in a row that gaming revenue surpassed $1bn. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, provided the bulk of this revenue, accounting for $998m of the $1.15bn.

11 of 18 Nevada gambling markets set revenue records

The Las Vegas Strip saw its December gaming revenue rise 123% year-on-year up to $650.7m. There were also significant year-on-year increases for North Las Vegas and Downtown Las Vegas. Other counties across the state also had a strong December, including Washoe County and Reno. In total, 11 of 18 Nevada gambling markets set revenue records last year.

Of the total $1.15bn revenue in December, $786.2m came from slot machines and $363.9m from table, card, and counter games.

Recovery set to continue

Nevada visitor numbers are continuing to rise as the region recovers from pandemic concerns. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines allowed many restrictions on gaming floors to ease. Numerous special events also took place last year, including the return of live entertainment, concerts, and NFL games at Allegiant Stadium.

Tourism levels are still significantly lower than 2019 figures, however. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, about 32.2 million tourists visited Southern Nevada in 2021. This is in comparison to 42.5 million visitors in 2019.

International and business travel numbers remain low, which is something operators will hope to change going forward. Despite some challenges, current estimates from Fitch Ratings points towards the growth of both the Las Vegas and regional gaming markets in the US continuing strongly in 2022.

Commenting on Nevada’s strong results on Tuesday, Governor Steve Sisolak said: “I am excited to see the continued economic progress when it comes to gaming revenues. This is a strong measure of our state’s recovery.”