After months of griping that their hold on casino revenues in the United States was being undermined by the growth of gambling overall, Nevada had a breakout month. New figures released late last month indicate that the state had a record month for gambling. Over $1 billion dollars was spent by gamblers in October in Nevada. This is the fifth time since the beginning of the year that Nevada gamblers wagered over a billion dollars. It is also the richest October for the state since 2013, as well as the highest total wagered since February of 2013.
Gambling in Nevada
There has been gambling in Nevada in one form or another since the area became a series of boomtowns thanks to silver and gold mines in the area around the time of the Civil War. At that time, saloons with poker games and even poker rooms opened up across the state. Like many areas in the United States, the saloons and poker rooms were closed down during Prohibition and the Great Depression. However, after World War II, with the influx of soldiers and new military bases, the state decided to allow casino gambling as a way to increase revenue. Nevada, as one of the only placed that allowed casino gambling, quickly rose to the top of the gambling revenues in the United States. In fact, Las Vegas is second only to Macau for revenue generated by gambling. In 2017, the state generated over $25 billion in gambling revenue.
The Problems in the State
Both Las Vegas and Reno saw their revenues fall in the years during and after the Great Recession. Nevada officials stated there were several factors for the gambling revenue shortfall. First, the casinos in Reno were receiving direct competition from newly opened casinos in California. Because Reno lies so close to the California border, this created a problem for the casinos. In addition, Las Vegas began to experience problems with Macau in competition for high rollers. Macau, a peninsula in China, is one of the only places where gambling is legal in the area. Macau has made catering to high-rolling gamblers a priority. Also, Las Vegas experienced one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country due to the Great Recession, which gave people less money to spend on gambling. Finally, both Reno and Las Vegas have experienced an aging gambling population. As a whole, younger adults do not enjoy the same type of gaming as older adults.
The Solutions in Nevada
Nevada has come up with several solutions to increase their gambling revenues. Both Las Vegas and Reno have been targeting younger gamblers with ideas. Reno and Las Vegas have courted younger gamblers through concert offerings, and DJ curated music in the clubs. In addition, Las Vegas has also been offering pool parties with VIP guests that draw younger crowds. They have included experiences as part of gambling packages, which appeal to Millennials who want a picture-perfect time to share on social media. Reno has been offering packages as well, but rather than pool parties or foodies, they are gearing packages to the outdoors. Reno is 20 miles from the Lake Tahoe area, which means that Millennials are flocking to the area to ski, hike, and swim. Kayaking and rafting are also popular.
It appears that the advertising and package campaigns are having an effect on the revenues in Nevada. The casinos are also being helped by a slumping economy in China. The Chinese government has also cracked down on high rollers and money laundering. This has caused many gamblers to take their business elsewhere. All of these changes are good for the state of Nevada and its gambling revenue.
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