Las Vegas casinos took more than $900 MILLION in December alone – with Nevada raking in $15 BILLION in 2023 as gamblers rush back to Sin City after COVID slump

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The state of Nevada raked in over $15.5billion last year in casino takings
  • Vegas Strip brought in over $905million in month of December alone

In a blockbuster year of profits, Nevada casinos raked in over $15billion from unlucky gamblers in 2023. 

Casinos on the Las Vegas strip took in more than $900million from gamblers in December alone, contributing to a record-breaking month for the state. 

The Gaming Control Board of Nevada said the state recorded winnings of $1.43 billion in the month of December – its highest ever. 

Much of the surge is down to renewed enthusiasm following COVID-19 casino closures, while high-profile events like the Formula One Grand Prix in late November, the opening of the $2.3 billion Sphere and the Dec. 13 opening of the Fontainebleau Hotel and Casino, also boosted results. 

Last year’s total gaming revenue increased 4.6 percent from 2022, when the state set a new record with takings of $14.8 billion. 

The Gaming Control Board of Nevada said the state recorded winnings of $1.43 billion in the month of December, with takings amount to $15.5 billion for the year

The Gaming Control Board of Nevada said the state recorded winnings of $1.43 billion in the month of December, with takings amount to $15.5 billion for the year

Forbes reported that ever since reopening after the Covid-19 pandemic, the state has posted 34 straight months of $1 billion in monthly revenue. 

HOW CASINOS MAKE IT HARDER TO WIN BIG 

Casinos in Las Vegas are raising the odds on games as payouts decrease 

Blackjack: Tables traditionally paid 3:2 if a player got 21 from their first two cards. 

Many now pay 6:5.

That means player who bets $10 will win $12 instead of $15 under the old rules. 

Roulette: Tables traditionally have wheels with 38 slots – the number 0-36, plus a ’00’. Some now include a ‘000’.

This means the odds of the ball landing in a chosen number are slightly higher. 

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The strip’s $905 million win for last month was 11.2 percent higher than December in 2022.

Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst for the board, said: ‘This month’s results were driven primarily by the Strip due to high-end baccarat play and all-time record amounts of slot volume and slot win.

‘Baccarat win on the Strip increased by $72.9 million and accounted for 61.4% of the total gaming win increase on the Strip.

‘The state and The Strip have now set three consecutive records for calendar year revenue: 2021, 2022 and 2023.’

Forbes reported that slot machines had generated $10.2 billion last year across the state, an increase of 2.8%.

Table games set an annual revenue record for the category with $5.2 billion, a 8.3 percent jump compared to 2022. 

Baccarat meanwhile, a game popular with international gamblers, generated $1.4 billion across the state. 

In a report last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that payouts for winning blackjack had dropped with player losses climbing. 

The outlet said that Vegas casinos cut back the number of tables with dealers, raised minimum bets during busy periods and lifted their advantage over player in games.

Blackjack, a fast-paced card game, historically paid out a ratio of 3:2 when a player hit 21 on the first two cards. 

That means a gambler wins $15 for every $10 bet. Now, some blackjack tables on the Strip pay out at 6:5, which means that same $10 yields only $12. 

Roulette has also had odds increased in many places. The number of triple-zero tables – which add another slot to the wheel and increase the odds of hitting a chosen number – has increased.

Table games set an annual revenue record for the category with $5.2 billion, a 8.3 percent jump compared to 2022

Table games set an annual revenue record for the category with $5.2 billion, a 8.3 percent jump compared to 2022

Slot machines had generated $10.2 billion last year across the state, an increase of 2.8% on the year before

Slot machines had generated $10.2 billion last year across the state, an increase of 2.8% on the year before

Minimum bets are also rising, meaning players must risk more cash to play games.

The record breaking year was helped by continuous growth in the number of visitors visiting the city of Las Vegas. 

According to a report by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 40.8 million people came to the city in 2023.

That was up 5.2 percent on the 38.8 million tourists who arrived in the city the year previously. 

In a report published in December, analysts are tampering their outlook on gaming for 2024 due to a pent-up demand generated during the pandemic. 

The report by Fitch Ratings said: ‘Las Vegas continues to surpass previous gaming revenue records, but could decline in 2024 as the impact of pent-up demand fades and the customer mix changes to more non-gaming customers.’

The record breaking year was helped by continuous growth in the number of visitors visiting the city of Las Vegas

The record breaking year was helped by continuous growth in the number of visitors visiting the city of Las Vegas

McLaren's Lando Norris in action during practice runs for the Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 17 2023

McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during practice runs for the Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 17 2023

The Fontainebleau Las Vegas hotel-casino is seen along the Las Vegas Strip on September 27, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Fontainebleau Las Vegas hotel-casino is seen along the Las Vegas Strip on September 27, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada

While Brendan Bussmann, managing partner of B Global, a firm focused on gaming and hospitality, told Forbes: ‘At this point, $1 billion has become the monthly revenue standard.

‘Last year brought spectacular numbers, there is no other way to describe them.’

Bussman said that 2024 was already off to a strong start in Las Vegas, and that will continue with the upcoming Super Bowl LVIII. 

He added: ‘I’m cautiously optimistic that we will continue to see slow and steady growth in 2024, but there might be dips along the way. 

‘It will be all about sustaining in the face of economic uncertainty and issues like inflation, rate cuts and geopolitical issues, which pose a cautionary tale for the future.’ 

Figures from the gaming board show that so far they have collected $84,924,974 in taxes from last month alone. 

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