Big news from Nevada last week is that Sandra Douglass Morgan is stepping down as the chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) after two challenging years in the office. Speaking of the NGCB, they’ve recently released gambling revenue figures, which show Las Vegas is still in a big crisis.
There’s some hope on the horizon, with new venues opening in the city. Circa Resort and Casino opened on Wednesday, while Mohegan Gaming is planning to open the tribe’s first casino on the Strip in January.
Over in Macau, the world’s largest gaming hub, the drop in revenue caused by the COVID-19 crises has made lawmakers consider online casino legalization.
NGCB Chairwoman Announces Decision to Step Down
After 22 months in the office, Sandra Douglass Morgan has decided to step down as the chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). A lawyer by trade, Morgan is going to leave the office on November 6.
Her tenure at the NGCB helm started in January 2019 when Nevada Governor Sisolak appointed her as the replacement of the former chairwoman Becky Harris.
Morgan’s era will be remembered for having to handle the biggest crisis Nevada has encountered in decades. With the COVID-19 pandemic demolishing the gaming industry in 2020, Morgan’s successor is expected to have an even more difficult job on the hands.
Grim Figures in NGCB’s September Report
Nevada’s gambling revenue in September was $821.1 million, which is 22.4% less than the same time last year. On the bright side, the figures show a decent increase in revenue in comparison with August 2020. In fact, September was the most profitable month for the gaming industry in Nevada since the casinos went back to business in June after the coronavirus shutdown.
Despite the increase in revenue, the state is still in trouble. This goes especially for large venues on the Strip, where casinos reported a 39.1% drop in comparison with last year.
Bingo Games Recording Higher Revenue Than Before
Slot machines made the most money for Las Vegas casinos in September, with total revenue of $607.5 million. Even though it seems like a big number, the figure is actually 12% lower than what Nevada slots earned in 2019.
All the games have achieved a negative revenue in comparison to September 2019, with the exception of bingo. Nevada’s bingo games recorded a 2.75% increase, totalling just above $2 million in revenue. Other types of games recorded the following revenue figures:
- Blackjack ($64.6 million, -21.7%)
- Craps ($32.8 million, -13.3%)
- Roulette ($22.5 million, -20.3%)
- Baccarat ($14.2 million, -11.5%)
When it comes to sports betting, Nevada’s sportsbooks generated $32.9 million, which is 37% down year-on-year. The figure is actually one of the state’s worst showings at the start of the NFL season. The same was not the case with other sports betting-friendly US states. New Jersey, for instance, broke its record last month.
In September, the total betting handle in the Garden State went to nearly $750 million, which is 68% up compared to September 2019. The reason behind this lies in the fact that online betting is legal in New Jersey. During the COVID-19 pandemic, NJ bettors simply moved from land-based sportsbooks to their web-based counterparts. Nevada bettors, do not have that luxury, as this activity remains illegal in the state.
MGE Gets Approval to Launch the First Tribal Casino on the Strip
A throwback to the MobileCasinoParty news recap from October 9 – Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment has received a license approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission. Some two weeks earlier, the Nevada Gaming Control Board did the same.
In both cases, the decision was given unanimously, thus allowing the MGE to open the first tribal casino on the Las Vegas Strip on January 15. The casino in question is the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, located about a mile to the east of Paris Las Vegas, a venue that ended in the news last week when a power outage left the casino patrons in the dark for two hours.
Circa Premiers, The Cromwell Returns
On October 29, Caesars Entertainment-owned property The Cromwell reopened after nearly eight months. The Cromwell was their only Las Vegas Strip casino still shut down months after gambling returned to Nevada.
The newly-reopened casino will have some new rules. In addition to the anti-COVID-19 measures that all the casinos in Nevada need to have, The Cromwell has enacted another rule – no kids allowed.
Starting this week, only people aged 21 or more will be granted entry in The Cromwell. The same rule is also in force in Circa Casino, which had its grand opening on Wednesday.
Online Gaming to Come to Macau?
Almost 90% of Macau’s government revenue comes from taxes on casino gambling. The trouble is that casino revenue has dropped significantly in 2020. From January to August, the six licensed casinos in Macau generated $4.5 billion.
Even though that may seem like a gigantic figure, it’s nothing compared to what Macau’s casinos earned in the same period last year. During the same eight months in 2019, they generated gross gaming revenue of $24.8 billion, which is nearly six times the 2020 figure. The culprit is obvious – the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions caused the result of it.
All this has prompted Macau lawmakers to start thinking about alternative solutions. Jose Maria Pereira Coutinho has stepped up as one of the proponents of online gaming. The legalization of this gaming activity seems like the kind of remedy Macau’s economy needs.
Offshore Gaming Turning Into a Big Problem for China
Another incentive for this move is the fact that a large number of Chinese people do gamble online despite it being banned throughout the country. There are several countries in Asia whose online casinos target Chinese gamblers, most notably the Philippines. In fact, Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) have been pinpointed by Chinese officials as the #1 breakers of China’s gaming laws.
The controversy surrounding POGOs reached its peak when China’s President Xi Jinping pleaded with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to do something about the situation. Duterte still hasn’t done anything following Jinping’s request, suggesting that the tax revenue coming from those operators is too large to take them out of business.