There are few businesses hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as the casino industry. Casinos in Nevada are reeling and the latest monthly revenue figures are nothing short of horrible.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board releases casino gaming revenue figures every month. These figures give an insight into the health of the casino industry which the state relies on for tax revenue.
April’s figures were among the worst on record. No Nevada casinos were open during April as Governor Steve Sisolak order them all shut in the middle of March. This meant the only revenue generated came from online sports betting and online poker. We’ll never know how much was spent because the Nevada regulator blanked out the details and only showed the lowly revenue of US$3,646,658.
Sin City casinos generated $936.4 million during April 2019 for comparison.
May 2020’s figures improved on April, but are still massively down year-on-year. Nevada casino gaming revenue for May weighed in at only $5,808,507. The control board neglected to give a detailed breakdown of how this revenue was generated.
Las Vegas tends to be busy all year round, but business seriously picks up from May onwards. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) attracts hundreds of thousands of poker players to Nevada each summer. They don’t all gamble away from the poker tables, but they still contribute massively as a whole. WSOP postponed this year’s festival until “the fall”.
May 2019 saw casinos in Nevada generate $981.8 million in revenue. The difference between the May 2019 and May 2020 is a staggering 99.4%.
Could Nevada Close Its Doors Again
Las Vegas casinos slammed their doors shut on March 18 and reopened on June 4. It marked the first time in 57 years the famous Las Vegas Strip wasn’t awash with neon lighting. Carolyn Goodman, the Las Vegas major, claimed shutting down casino operations for longer than 14 days would be catastrophic for the local economy.
Nevada could be set for another enforced lockdown if the spike in COVID-19 cases isn’t curtailed.
Governor Sisolak has already made the wearing of face masks mandatory in the state. This drastic move came after new confirmed cases of the coronavirus soared since the state’s June 4 reopening.
The average number of new cases during lockdown hovered around 100. This increased to 195 on June 5, the day after the grand reopening. Cases continued to climb with 507 new cases confirmed on June 24. June 26 saw 1,099 new cases, the second-highest spike since records began.
In short, Nevada has reported 17,971 infections. A worrying 9,190 (51.13% of all cases) have happened since casinos reopened on June 4.
Nevada’s seven-day positive test rate is also extremely worrying. Latest figures show this to be 16%, more than triple the recommended rate set by the World Health Organisation for economies to reopen.
Many Vegas casinos simply won’t survive another long period of closures. The gambling Mecca of the world will look very different, perhaps forever.
How Are Australian Casinos Faring?
There haven’t been any revenue figures released by Australia’s governing bodies but it doesn’t take a genius to work out they’ll be pitiful compared to last year’s numbers.
Aussie casinos are slowly reopening after being closed for more than three months. Strict social distancing measures are in place, including limiting each venue’s capacity. Crown Resorts’ flagship Melbourne casino remains closed after a rise in COVID-19 cases in Victoria.
Crown’s Perth property reopened for business on June 27 and initial reports are positive. Customers are enjoying a different experience, one with around a 50% reduction in available pokies. Food and beverage outlets are table service only, while a one-way system is in place.