Vegas is so over COVID as Nevada casinos hit $1B/month

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on 04/28/2021

Nevada’s casinos made $1,066,979,987 collectively off of punters in March 2021, according to the Nevada Gambling Control Board’s latest report. This marks an eight year record for monthly takings by the state’s casinos. The casinos did all this business while operating at 25-35% of their fire code capacity.

The lockdown orders from the governor’s office will relax even further the next few months. The data above could be the start to a second round of roaring 20s in Vegas, and poker’s coming with it.

Casino revenues have jumped 73% from the$617,971,174 reported by casinos for March, 2020 — when the novel coronavirus was just beginning to get its spike proteins properly sunk into the U.S. population.

Though the stats for March are impressive, they have to be viewed in the current context. Casinos are still playing catch-up.

Last year was brutal for them. This fiscal year started on June 1. Since then, the state of Nevada’s casinos took in 17% less over the 2020/2021 fiscal year to date when compared to the same period in the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Signs of recovery in post-COVID Vegas

This astonishing recovery comes from a confluence of factors.

Firstly, after a year of letting fires burn, the U.S. government finally has a serious pandemic response. The new administration has been in power long enough for the effects of the shift to be felt.

Secondly, the U.S. has not one but four vaccines in play — the British AstraZeneca vaccine, the German Pfizer vaccine, and the American Moderna vaccine. Plus Johnson & Johnson are spooling up production on a fourth jab. 200 million doses and counting have been delivered into U.S. bodies already, the nation is getting safer every day.

Thirdly, the casinos had their capacity jacked up from 25% to 35% halfway through the month. This came around the same time that the casinos started a hardcore publicity campaign to reassure the world that their staff are antibody factories.

Spring has sprung

Fourthly, and every bit as importantly, March Madness has kicked off. The month that the NCAA kicks off is a time of bounty for the sportsbook in every casino across the nation. This is doubly true in Vegas. Sports fans have also been letting the pressure build.

“I think the one thing that happened in March was that there was so much pent-up demand to come to Vegas — but really there was pent-up demand for March Madness,” Derek Stevens, who owns Circa, told the press. He also notes that the effect wasn’t a quick flash in the pan. The powder is still giving off heat carried two weeks in.

“[The demand persisted] not just the first week but the second week as well,” Stevens adds. “The second week was exceptionally strong. I’m hoping now that March Madness is two weeks long.”

The main upshot of all this is that the American public is finally allowed to cut loose. For a year, the smart and the responsible have been skipping holidays and steering clear of casinos. Now they can run wild at the card table.

While March Madness won’t last, the nation is still blowing off the head of steam it has built. So far the signs point towards a boom, not a bubble. And a Vegas boom is a poker boom.

Featured image source: Flickr by Thomas Hawk