(Bloomberg)—Bettors in Nevada and Las Vegas tossed aside high inflation and recurring surges of Covid-19 to drop record sums for the second straight year.
The Las Vegas Strip, home to giant casinos such as the MGM Grand and Bellagio, recorded a total win of $8.29 billion in 2022, an increase of 17% from the prior year, according to data released Tuesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Statewide revenue hit $14.8 billion, up 11%.
While trade shows and conventions remained weak during the pandemic, the US gambling capital bounced back quickly from the casino closures of 2020. Leisure travelers have continued to turn out, even as online betting spreads to many states. Federal stimulus funds, as well as a number of special events in the city, helped bring free-spending gamblers back.
“Nevada has continued to benefit from the surging demand for leisure travel domestically and internationally and a healthy local economy experiencing record employment levels,” Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst at the gaming control board, said in a statement.
Total visitors to Las Vegas rose 21% to 38.8 million last year, according the city’s convention and visitors authority. That was still about 8.7% under 2019’s total. Convention attendance, at just under 5 million guests, compared with 6.6 million four years ago.
In a further boost to the global outlook, Macau reported gaming revenue surged 82.5% in January as China’s reopening and the week-long Lunar New Year break sparked an influx of visitors. The recovery follows 10 consecutive months of double-digit declines that saw the city lose it’s title of world’s top gambling hub, though analysts have warned it’s unclear whether the pace of the recovery can be sustained.
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