Officials: Las Vegas Visitor Volume Declines In 2017

Visitation to the U.S. gambling hub dropped in 2017, according to preliminary data released this week by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

About 42,215,900 people came to Sin City, down 1.7 percent compared to the record 42,936,100 from 2016. That’s despite convention attendance rising 5.2 percent last year to 6,639,100 from 6,310,600.

The LVCVA said that the average daily room rate for last year was $129.45, up 2.8 percent from $125.97 in 2016. Total room nights occupied fell 1.7 percent, going from 48,485,600 in 2016 to 47,665,200 last year. There were 148,897 rooms available citywide as of Dec. 31, virtually unchanged compared to 2016’s 149,339.

If the visitation figure doesn’t change when the LVCVA finalizes its data, it would mark the first year-over-year decline since 2012-13. Las Vegas visitation took a hit in the latter part of 2017, thanks to the mass shooting tragedy in early October.

Historical data on Las Vegas visitation stretches back to 1970, when 6,787,650 people came to Glitter Gulch. A visitor spent an average of $54 on gambling in 1970. In 2016, a visitor lost on average $226. That average was $277 in 2007, Clark County’s best year ever in terms of gambling revenue. The Great Recession then struck, and gambling revenue has slowly been inching back up ever since. Gaming revenue from 2017 will be made public in the coming weeks.

It’s worth noting that $54 in 1970 has the same buying power as about $330 in 2018, according to an inflation calculator from the federal government.

The 2017 Nevada Gaming Abstract, which includes data on the casino-hotel industry’s total revenue, also has not been released yet. Last year’s report said the state’s 273 full-fledged casinos generated more than $25.2 billion in total revenue in FY 2016.

Gaming revenue accounted for 42.6 percent of total revenue, a record low for the industry, according to University of Nevada Las Vegas research. It was slightly lower in Clark County (41 percent). That means that the casinos rely less on gambling than ever before. In 1984, the farthest back the data goes, gaming win represented 62 percent of total revenue in the fiscal year.

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