Nevada’s Land-Based Casino Success

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A view of the Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada.
BetMGM Sep 13, 2023, 3:28 PM

On March 19, 1931, Governor Fred Balzar signed Assembly Bill 98 into law, and set into motion a series of events that would turn Nevada into one of the best casino destinations around the world. Today, betting enthusiasts travel hundreds of miles for the authentic casino experiences found in the gambling mecca of the US, leading to significant economic growth for Las Vegas and the Silver State. 

Assembly Bill 98 was signed into law to help Nevada generate desperately needed funds for the state. It did more than that, turning the region into a gambling mecca. Reno was the first city to reap the benefits of the new laws, followed not long after by a little-known city known as Las Vegas. After casinos were opened to cater to the gambling-loving public, thousands of tourists came to indulge their desires and cut loose. 

By 1984, just over 50 years after the legalization of gambling, the state was bringing in billions in gambling revenue. According to UNLV Gaming Research’s report “Nevada Casinos: Departmental Revenues, 1984–2022,” the state was bringing in almost $3 billion in gaming revenue in 1984. This number only continued to climb over the decades, resulting in a total gaming revenue just short of $14 billion in 2022. This doesn’t take into account the millions earned by industries connected to the gaming space, such as rooms, food, and beverages, which were also bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars.

Today, the industry continues to grow. For June 2023, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported state revenue of $1.29 billion, marking the 27th consecutive month with profits past the $1B mark. A strong performance from the Las Vegas Strip led to Clark County earning the majority of gambling income, with over 200 land-based casinos contributing to the state’s economic growth.

Despite relatively strong monthly figures, slight decreases for two of the last three months have left some economic analysts concerned. But the decrease adds up to less than 1% altogether; June boasts the second-largest monthly revenue this year, and gaming win is up by 3.8% compared to 2022, indicating that casinos in Nevada remain beneficial as assets for state income.

Slot machines and sports betting have grown by significant margins since last year. Sportsbooks won over 10% more overall, Washoe County had an increase of 9% from 2022 to 2023 and areas such as Reno, Boulder Strip, and Laughlin reported record-breaking revenue. South Lake Tahoe was the most improved, up by 11% since last year, with a profit of $19.5 million.

Wins were down and holds were up across the state, either signaling a shift toward more cautious betting habits or a growing preference for playing casino games online and alternative betting options. According to Nevada gaming regulations, though, the only legal online casino games are variations of poker. With highly limited online casino games, the lack of diverse betting choices could be contributing to slight decreases in monthly revenue.

Casinos in Nevada continue to play a crucial role in the state’s economy. Hotel-casino companies, for example, are the largest property taxpayers. MGM Resorts International has a property value of approximately $10.2 billion, more than double the value of its closest equivalent.

The benefits brought by the casino industry extend beyond profit. Casinos create jobs and bring in a large number of tourists, popular resorts make impressive charitable contributions, and over a third of Nevada’s public school funding comes from the gaming industry.

Senate lawmakers are considering a proposed legislation to lift the ban on state lotteries, meaning that Nevada gaming regulations could change in the future and options for online casino games may be reevaluated. Licensed casinos remain as popular as ever and the addition of new online formats would entice more bettors, add to the state’s gambling revenue and alleviate the pressure felt by land-based casinos.

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Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.