Nevada saw its highest-ever monthly gambling revenue in November 2023, reaching $1.37 billion, according to figures released this week by the State Gaming Control Board. This represents an increase of over 12% compared to November 2022. Analysts attribute this new record partly to the impact of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas, which drew over 168,000 attendees and helped boost the sports betting handle to $759 million for the month.
The record gambling revenue speaks to the continuing appeal of Las Vegas and Nevada more broadly as a gambling tourism destination even in challenging economic times. The inaugural F1 event undoubtedly inflated the month's sports betting figures, but even excluding sportsbooks, revenue from slots, table games, and other casino gaming was up by double-digit percentages year-over-year.
The F1 race demonstrated Nevada's potential to host massive sporting events. Its success comes despite worries that the economic crunch would dampen demand for gambling getaways. However, visitors still have an appetite for the city's unique entertainment experiences. Nevada also benefits from still being one of the few places in the U.S. with legal sports betting, which contributed over $50 million in tax revenue to state coffers last month.
In the future, it will be interesting to monitor whether these sorts of new flagship events can provide an ongoing boost to Nevada's gambling industry. There may also be lessons for New Zealand, where lawmakers have made moves towards allowing casinos with the promise of economic development. However, responsible gambling advocates also warn that headline revenue figures brush over the social impacts of expanded gaming for vulnerable groups. Balancing these considerations is an issue globally as jurisdictions weigh introducing or liberalizing casino industries.
The record $1.37 billion in gambling wins demonstrates Nevada's enduring brand power in gaming despite market maturation in many segments. Sports betting's growth hints at further upside still to be unlocked.