Nevada casino data: Jobs lost, revenues down amid pandemic

An aerial view of the Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip Photo credit f11photo/Getty Images

Las Vegas, NV (AP) - The economic effect of the coronavirus pandemic emerged in stark numbers in an annual report showing a decrease in employees at Nevada’s biggest casinos and anemic revenues during the 12 months that followed a statewide casino shutdown in 2020.

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The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s annual Nevada Gaming Abstract, released Thursday, said 302 casinos statewide that grossed more than $1 million in gambling revenues lost $206.4 million in the 12 months ending last June 30. That compared with net income of almost $2.9 billion reaped by 267 casinos in fiscal 2020.

The average number of employees decreased 18% during the fiscal 2021 reporting period, from almost 136,000 to about 111,500, the report said.

All casinos and many other businesses statewide were closed from mid-March to early June 2020. Most have now reopened.

Gambling returned faster than other resort services, including conventions, live entertainment and nightclubs, the data showed.

“Pandemic related restrictions severely impacted revenues across all departments with the exception of the casino department,” said board senior analyst Michael Lawton, who produced the 184-page report. He noted that most of the lost jobs were in hotel operations and food and beverage, instead of casino floors.

Of the 24,520 employee jobs lost, 20,578 were in non-gambling departments, he said.

The Gaming Abstract includes line-item information about Nevada’s largest casinos, from average number of employees by department to revenue per room and gambling revenue per square foot of casino space.

The 302 casinos paid $802 million in gambling taxes and fees, equating to 9.5% of their gambling revenue, the report said. A year ago, 267 casinos paid $694 million to the state, or about 10.3% of their gambling revenue.

In Clark County, home to the Las Vegas Strip, 173 casinos that met the $1 million threshold reported a combined net loss of $742.5 million in the 12-month period ending last summer.

“The Strip lagged behind the other submarkets across the state,” Lawton said, “due to reliance on multiple market segments including international travelers, convention attendees and (domestic airline) customers.”

Over the last 10 years, Strip gambling revenues have made up an average of almost 54% of statewide gambling revenues, the board analyst said. For fiscal 2021, that dropped to 42.4%.

In Washoe County, 36 casinos reported combined net income of $275 million, according to the report. 18 casinos in Elko County tallied $132 million.

The abstract said 53 casinos owned by public companies accounted for almost 65% of the total gambling revenue generated statewide during the fiscal year.

Rooms, food, beverage and other non-gambling departments accounted for 47.6% of total revenue statewide, down from 63.2% the previous year.

“Pandemic related restrictions which limited restaurants, bars, entertainment offerings including showrooms, concerts, special events and nightclubs all played a large role in the decreases,” Lawton said. “Additionally, a lack of international travelers, convention attendees and the sluggish ramp-up for leisure travel contributed to these results.”

Nearly 550,000 people in Nevada have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in mid-March 2020, and 8,627 have died, according to state health officials.

Gov. Steve Sisolak invoked emergency powers to close businesses and allow phased re-openings, and to require people to wear masks in public buildings and stores. Mask mandates remain in place.

Non-gambling revenues decreased $3.9 billion or 33.9% in the year-to-year comparison, he said.

Featured Image Photo Credit: f11photo/Getty Images