It’s really hard to overstate what a calamitous year 2020 was for Nevada’s casino gaming industry. From a 78-day closure, when no money was coming in, to a public that’s still reluctant to travel, there was hardly any good news to be had from the birthplace of modern casino gambling in 2020. Not surprisingly, 2020 was the worst revenue year since 1997 for Nevada gaming.

All told Nevada casino gaming brought in about $7.8 billion in 2020. That’s down an astounding 34.6 percent from 2019 and is the lowest the casinos have seen since 1997. And as if to rub in the year’s misery, December 2020 casino revenue was a mere $30 million, down 40 percent from last December. No doubt the loss of marquee December events like the National Rodeo Finals that normally shore up the end-of-the-year numbers, contributed to that bleak number.

Of course the biggest hit the casinos took was the 78-day closure that lasted from March until June. Once casinos were allowed to reopen, their operating capacity varied from 25 percent to 50 percent. That means there’s no way they could achieve anything like their expected revenue.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board was pretty up front about the situation in its official statement, as reported on by the Las Vegas Sun. The reason for the decrease to this calendar year was the result of the suspension of gaming operations from March 18 through June 4 due to COVID-19. This 78-day closure had a significant impact on gaming win amounts,” their official report said.

Though widespread vaccine distribution is likely to make Americans more likely to return to favorite travel locations like Las Vegas, a return to pre-pandemic revenue streams is still a long ways off for the glittering casinos of Nevada.


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