The major new Resorts World Las Vegas hotel and casino opened in June 2021, during a summer that has seen Nevada gambling revenues soar. — © AFP
Barely a year after the Las Vegas Strip was shut down by Covid-19, its world-famous casinos have roared back to a record-breaking summer thanks to a remarkable winning streak.
Nevada pocketed an all-time record $1.36 billion last month from gamblers, who are flooding back to the city nicknamed Lost Wages after months confined at home with little to spend their money on.
“We weren’t anticipating these type of numbers,” said Michael Lawton, senior analyst for Nevada Gaming Control Board.
“In Nevada, a billion dollars in gaming win is kind of a bellwether number. And we’ve recorded a billion dollars in gaming win in five consecutive months.”
July was something of a “perfect storm,” thanks to the presence of major events including a Conor McGregor fight, a Garth Brooks concert at the gleaming new Allegiant Stadium, and the return of musical residencies such as Usher and Bruno Mars at swanky casino theaters.
The month also contained five weekends, including the bonanza Fourth of July holiday.
But the hot streak — and bustling crowds on the Strip — point to a renewed confidence in the safety of piling onto slot machines and roulette tables, even as the Delta variant spreads and Nevada has had to reimpose indoor mask mandates.
“The people that come to Vegas don’t really seem too concerned,” said one barman working on the Strip, who asked not to be named.
“They don’t seem super worried about getting sick or anything. I think if you’re paranoid about getting sick, I don’t think those people travel — they probably stay at home.”
Workers at casinos told AFP that many of their customers hail from