Nevada Casinos Won More Than $13 Billion From Gambling In 2021

Written By Marc Meltzer on February 3, 2022
2021 is a record-breaking year for Nevada's casino gambling revenue

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) recently released its final gaming revenue report for 2021. The great year continued for casino operators.

2021 was a record-breaking year for how much money casinos won from players.

December was the 10th consecutive month that Silver State casinos won $1 billion or more from gamblers. For the year, casinos won a total of $13.4 billion.

Before 2021, the biggest win for Nevada casinos was $12.85 billion in 2007.

2021 Nevada Gaming Abstract

In January, the NGCB released its Gaming Abstract for the fiscal year. This report is slightly different as the fiscal year for Nevada runs from July through June.

The information in the Gaming Abstract only covers the first six months of 2021. The report offers both gaming and non-gaming revenue. While not an apples to apple comparison there are some interesting takeaways.

During the fiscal year, gambling in Nevada accounted for 52.4% of total revenue in casinos taking in more than $1 million. This share was different on the Vegas Strip where gambling revenue was 41.1% of revenue.

Slot machines and table game revenue led the way again accounting for the vast majority of gambling during the fiscal year.

During this period Nevada sportsbooks accounted for just 4.4% of gaming revenue at casinos with more than $1 million in revenue in Nevada. Sportsbooks in the Vegas Strip casinos accounted for 3.2% of gaming revenue.

While the rest of the country is losing its mind over sports betting revenue, it’s still just a drop in the bucket for casinos in Nevada. According to the NGCB report for the year, sportsbook revenue was up 69.4% from 2020.

Sportsbooks still generate a greater percentage of revenue for Nevada casinos than poker rooms and pari-mutuel horse racing. Sports betting is still an important part of the gaming mix for Nevada.

Nevada sports betting brings visitors to casinos that might not normally visit. The ancillary revenue can be accounted for at the bars and restaurants.

2021 Nevada gaming revenue

2021 was more than just a bounceback from 2020 when casinos were closed for a short period due to Covid-19. Casinos won 11.6% more than 2019 before Covid-19 slowed down businesses around the world.

During the year, Nevada casinos won $1 billion from gambling 10 times in 12 months. The bump in gaming revenue makes sense as non-gambling entertainment was limited much of the year.

Both locals and tourists were impacted by fewer things to do when visiting casinos. Tourists didn’t have the shows and spa treatments for months. Similarly, locals weren’t able to chow down at buffets or sit in movie theaters for a few months during the year.

Even as shows, spas and theaters reopened casino guests stayed at the tables and machines to gamble. Casinos won more in December than November where casinos won more than October.

All of the gambling districts in Nevada saw higher gaming revenue in 2021 compared to 2020. Casinos in different parts of Nevada have contrasting customers and that’s shown in the gaming win numbers.

The Vegas Strip depends on tourists and business travelers. This part of Nevada saw a relatively small increase of 7.4% over 2019.

Downtown Las Vegas has a good mix of locals and tourists. This part of Nevada saw a 23% increase over 2019 gaming revenue.

2021 Nevada gambling win by game

While casinos won a record-breaking $13.4 billion from gamblers, one thing remained the same. Slot machines are still the preferred way to gamble in Nevada according to the NGCB report.

Casinos won more than twice as much from slot machines than all other games combined with $9.23 billion. Once again the loud noises and bright lights from penny slots lead the way for casinos winning $3.75 billion.

In Nevada, keno, video poker and other electronic and stadium games are counted as slot machines.

There are more blackjack games in Nevada casinos than any other table game. This correlates to another year with blackjack leading the way for casino win at the tables.

For the year casinos won $1.13 billion from blackjack. Baccarat was second winning $939,142 million for casinos despite only having tables in 30 casinos.

Blackjack was available in 119 casinos according to the NGCB report.

Photo by John Locher / Associated Press
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He’s the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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