Las Vegas economy receives March Madness boost

Nevada casinos have reported a near-record level of winnings for March, whilst at the same time, the Las Vegas airport announced that passenger traffic almost reached pre-pandemic levels. 

With such high attendance, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) announced a total for casinos statewide of $1.35bn, nearing the best-ever monthly record of $1.36bn that was achieved last July. 

Overall, all-time records for house machine winnings were achieved whereas the Las Vegas Strip gained the third highest monthly slot winnings to date. 

NGCB Senior Analyst Michael Lawton commented that “a traditional ‘March Madness’ atmosphere returned” following the removal of all Covid restrictions, including mask wearing.

In terms of sports betting, March featured a NASCAR race, mixed martial arts fights and NCAA basketball events. Almost $40m was won by sportsbooks from $863m of wagers.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, March also saw an increase of almost 50% in visitors to Las Vegas with numbers reaching 3.3 million. Moreover, this observation noted a return to more trade shows and that hotel occupancy in and around Las Vegas exceeded 80%.

The Harry Reid International Airport counted almost 4.3 million passengers for March which is a reduction of only around 140,000 from its pre-pandemic total in March 2019.

International traveller numbers reached 154,000, which is up more than 50% since February with flights abroad set to increase further in April due to additional routes to cities in Mexico, Canada, Panama, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. 

In terms of taxes, Nevada received close to $98m from March winnings. Standing as an important figure for the state, this stream of income covers around 17% of overall state revenue.

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