It will take a combination of well-timed factors to sustain gaming revenue after 14 months of record-breaking performance.
The American Gaming Association reported last week that the gaming industry – led by results in Nevada – saw the strongest two months of revenue growth in history in January and February. This follows record increases in 2021.
While some of this growth may be related to a rebound from COVID-19 fatigue, much of it can also be attributed to industry and community investments that draw people and their disposable incomes south. of Nevada.
Nationally, commercial casinos generated $8.92 billion in January and February, an increase of 19.1% from the first two months of 2020. Nevada contributed $2.192 billion , up 5.3% from two years ago and the 11th and 12th straight month that gambling wins in the state topped $1 billion.
So what will make the pot grow? Experts say that includes efforts to bring the meetings and conventions industry back to full strength; a growing infrastructure, not only in resorts, but with attractions that will keep visitors coming back several times a year; and adjustments in gaming regulations that will promote additional wagering in Nevada.
The resumption of meetings and congresses is underway.
Brian Yost, chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said efforts to make the nation aware that Las Vegas is back in business kicked off last week with World Tourism Day. the meetings industry.
Some of the city’s top meeting planners have worked with national tourism leaders and the Nevada congressional delegation to claim that Las Vegas is the top destination for large gatherings. The message included reminders that there are many new things to do to make the city an even better host than in the past.
“The entertainment venues that came with the addition of Resorts World Las Vegas, Area15 and the incredible sports destinations that came with the addition of Allegiant Stadium and Circa…these are all relatively new assets for the destination, and we need to remind meeting planners that they are here and part of the Las Vegas experience,” Yost said.
The end of 2023 will see the opening of MSG Sphere at The Venetian, another attraction Yost expects to be a game changer for the meetings and conventions industry.
“We are the global home for entertainment, and now for sports,” he said. “Having this newest product on the market, the Sphere, will continue to allow us to maintain our dominance in this segment in both entertainment and sports.”
Another huge Sphere fan is Alan Feldman, a distinguished member of the International Gaming Institute at UNLV and a former executive at MGM Resorts International.
“Some of the facilities we’ve brought online for the foreseeable future, like the Sphere, are amazing because there’s nothing like it anywhere,” he said.
New sports facilities
Feldman added that a major league ballpark, as envisioned by the Oakland A’s, would create a new market of potential visitors to Las Vegas. The A’s consider moving to Las Vegas from the Bay Area.
Reports that Oak View Group, a sports entertainment venue development, advisory and investment group, are planning to build a $3 billion project centered on a $1 billion, 20,000-seat arena to the south of the Strip could be a game-changer. Oak View has expressed interest in attracting an NBA franchise, another potential expanding visitation market.
However, Feldman said there was something about Las Vegas doesn’t need.
“What Las Vegas doesn’t need is 20,000 to 40,000 rooms added over the next six months,” he said. “It would probably be best to add this type of inventory over the next six to eight years. Slow and steady growth would be healthier for the market, and if you look at the last 25 to 30 years, you can see that, with rare exceptions, those times when there has been huge growth over a very short period of time n have not always been beneficial.
More rooms would erode rates, he said.
Feldman said gaming regulators could also play a role in southern Nevada’s future financial fortunes.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has already formed the Esports Technical Advisory Committee to pave the way for establishing betting policies and regulations for video game competitions.
“I think esports represents a significant growth opportunity for Nevada, but it won’t be easy,” Feldman said. “It’s not about flipping the switch and it happens. It needs to be maintained and nurtured. »
Regulators should also review current policies requiring sports bettors to show up in person at casinos when registering to bet online with an app. In New Jersey, online gaming revenue has skyrocketed because bettors don’t have to make the extra trip to one or more casinos to have sports betting apps on their phones.
“Frankly, I find the debate a bit of a headache,” Feldman said. “I applied for a home loan online and never met a human being in the process until I had to sign for it, and even then it wasn’t with anyone from the institution. financial institution that I worked with. It’s beyond my mind that we would still need someone to come and show them ID when I can do facial recognition and digital recognition on my phone.
Advancements in technology have simplified registration processes in many industries, but not in gaming.
“I don’t know exactly why we have it, other than the idea that we’re going to force people into a brick and mortar facility and maybe they’ll spend a few bucks there,” a- he declared. mentioned. “I like that notion from a business perspective, but in my mind that’s not what the consumer is looking for.”