The good times continue to roll for Nevada gaming operators who reported a record $14.8 billion in revenue for 2022. That’s up slightly more than 10 percent over 2021’s $13.4 billion haul, which set the previous record for annual gaming revenue. It’s a sweet ride, but can it last?
December’s gaming revenue put a bow on a spectacular year at $1.3 billion. That’s up an astounding 25 percent over December 2021 and even surprised veteran gaming industry watchers like Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst at the Nevada Gaming Control Board. “December came in much stronger than we had anticipated,” he recently told Forbes, “it was a shock.”
Casinos make a lot more money when they’re packed with people, and Nevada’s casino empire was packed with people the entire year. Americans’ continuing love affair with Las Vegas, and its continually parade of glittering events, brought in a huge number of players. State officials say that 38.8 million tourists visited Las Vegas in 2022, which is up 20 percent over 2021. Those folks dropped around $8.28 billion in Strip and Downtown casinos.
As is almost always the case, slot machines were the revenue stars for Nevada gaming operators. The formerly-one-armed bandits brought in $10.5 billion, which is about 67.4 percent of the total revenue haul.
Table games surged 15 percent over 2021’s number for $4.35 billion in revenue. By way of comparison, penny slots brought in $3.59 billion during that same period.
While some industry analysts like Fitch Ratings expect Nevada casinos to see a revenue downturn this year, analysts like Brendan Bussmann, the managing partner of B Global aren’t so sure the ride will end so soon. “You assume this year is coming out strong based off of what we ended up with in December, and that will continue to trend. We still have some economic bumps on the road, but [the industry] seems to be weathering the storm,” he told Forbes.
Either way, Nevada gaming is enjoying an incredible ride.