Vegas tourism rebound fuels robust Nevada economy numbers

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s tourism economy is putting the coronavirus pandemic behind it, with regulators reporting the best casino earnings ever for a February and the airport serving Las Vegas announcing plans to resume international flights non-stop in April.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday reported a 12th straight month of $1 billion or more in casino winnings, a key index of the state’s economic health. The state collected nearly $59 million in casino taxes based on that figure, up more than 34% from a year ago.

“This month’s results were supported by an incredibly active sports and entertainment schedule,” said Michael Lawton, senior board analyst. He noted that Las Vegas hosted the NHL All-Star Game, the NFL Pro Bowl and a return to “a traditional Super Bowl party atmosphere” with COVID-19 restrictions, including mask requirements lifted on March 10.

The $1.1 billion that 433 statewide casinos won in February was lower than the record of $1.36 billion set last July.

The number of visitors to Las Vegas has increased significantly from a year ago, from 1.54 million in February 2021 to 2.6 million, according to a report from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority released Wednesday. That was still down more than 21% from the pre-coronavirus month of February 2020.

Harry Reid International Airport reported on Tuesday that monthly passenger traffic more than doubled in February from a year ago, with 3.3 million arriving and departing passengers.

That was just a 13.5% drop from the 3.8 million passengers recorded in February 2020 – the last month before casinos and businesses closed for more than two months to stem the spread of COVID- 19.

The airport – formerly called McCarran International – has announced that 16 airlines will begin nonstop service in the coming weeks to cities in Mexico, Canada, Panama, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the UK.

Flights from overseas have all but stopped during the coronavirus pandemic, and the Las Vegas airport saw just 8,000 international passengers in February 2021 after handling nearly 268,000 in the same month a year earlier. early.

“International travelers are a key component of the full recovery of overall Las Vegas attendance,” said H. Fletch Brunelle, vice president of marketing for the convention authority. “We are delighted to welcome additional routes from Europe.”

Unemployment numbers are also rebounding, with the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reporting a statewide unemployment rate of 5.1% last month.

This compares to a record low of 3.6% in February 2020, before the coronavirus shutdowns and the figure skyrocketed to 30.1% two months later.

Lawton, who has analyzed casino earnings for 12 years, noted robust casino activity on the Las Vegas Strip, even without Asian travelers able to fly in to celebrate Lunar New Year. He attributed this to “the underlying strength we see among locals, domestic customers and holidaymakers”.

Sports pools won nearly $31 million and the number of sports bets made in February set a record, but a four-month sports betting streak seeing more than $1 billion in wagers ended with $781 million wagered.

Nearly two-thirds of sports betting in February was made through a mobile app, Lawton said.

About Bobby F. Lopez

Check Also

California, tribal leaders announce new tourism initiative

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — In a state with the second-most federally recognized Indigenous tribes in …