Nevada Poker Report May 2017: Vegas Adds More Than 100 Tables In Lead-Up To WSOP

Steve Ruddock June 30, 2017 465 Reads
Vegas poker rooms May

The busy season for Nevada poker rooms is nearly upon us.

Unlike casino traffic, the best months for poker occur during the dog days of summer, from the end of May to mid-July. That’s when thousands of poker players swarm to Las Vegas to take part in the World Series of Poker.

The normal number of poker tables (between 586 and 600 in 2017) can’t accommodate this influx of players. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that by the end of May, Nevada poker rooms had already added 138 tables in preparation for the 2017 WSOP. This is according to the latest Nevada Gaming Control Board monthly gaming revenue report.

The WSOP bump focused almost exclusively on one area of the state, the Las Vegas Strip. Nearly all of the new tables (93 percent of them) were added at Las Vegas Strip casinos.

Top line numbers

The NGCB counted 62 poker rooms and 724 tables in May. That’s compared to 64 poker rooms and 586 poker tables in April.

In May 2016, Nevada featured 67 poker rooms and 755 tables.

The year-over-year numbers represent a 7.5 percent decline in poker rooms, but only a four percent decline in poker tables. Taking this a step further, the average size of the state’s poker rooms increased from 11.2 tables to 11.7 tables year-over-year.

Statewide poker revenue was $8,917,000 in May 2017; an increase of .4 percent compared to May 2016, when the state’s poker rooms generated $8,883,000 in revenue.

So, even though there are fewer rooms and tables compared to May 2016, poker revenue increased.

May’s poker revenue numbers are pretty much in line with the numbers Nevada’s poker rooms produced over the first four months of the year. That should change next month.

The tables have already been added, but since the WSOP didn’t get underway until May 31, the WSOP revenue bump won’t show up until June’s report.

WSOP leads to bigger poker rooms

As forecasted in last month’s report, the WSOP is going to cause a spike in poker numbers from now through July.

  • January 2017: 65 poker rooms and 596 poker tables
  • February 2017: 67 poker rooms and 600 poker tables
  • March 2017: 66 poker rooms and 596 poker tables
  • April 2017: 64 poker rooms and 586 poker tables
  • May 2017: 62 poker rooms and 724 poker tables

Poker in Clark County

Clark County (which includes Las Vegas) lost another poker room in May, dropping the number of card rooms to 38.

However, because of the WSOP, over 100 poker tables were added during the month; 128 to put an exact number on it. Every single one of those tables was added on the Las Vegas Strip. Clark County now boasts 599 of the state’s 724 poker tables, which works out to 83 percent.

Revenue-wise, Clark County generated 91 percent of all poker revenue in May. The percentage of poker revenue coming from Clark County will spike during June and July, when those 138 extra tables get put to use.

Poker on the Las Vegas Strip

As noted above, the Las Vegas Strip is the biggest beneficiary from the World Series of Poker.

Even though another room closed (leaving just 18 total rooms on The Strip) the number of poker tables on The Strip jumped from 270 in April to 398 in May, a 32 percent increase in the number of poker tables. That’s an average of over seven new tables per room.

The other 44 card rooms in Nevada added a total of 10 poker tables in May.

UNLV data

The UNLV Center for Gaming Research released a report on monthly poker revenue from 2004-2017, offering a historical view of poker revenue in Nevada.

UNLV pointed out the following trends in poker revenue:

  • January 2004 to May 2005, monthly win averaged $9.0 million
  • June 2005 to July 2006, monthly win averaged $13.0 million
  • August 2006 to June 2007, monthly win averaged $13.9 million
  • July 2007 to July 2008, monthly win averaged $13.6 million
  • August 2008 to February 2011, monthly win averaged $11.7 million
  • March 2011 to December 2014, monthly win averaged $13.0 million.
  • January 2015 to June 2017 monthly win averaged $9.7 million

The report also singled out the WSOP bump:

“… dozens of tables appear for 2-3 month periods in the summer, then disappear again. These fluctuations are primarily caused by the addition of tables at the Rio during the World Series of Poker: to accommodate cash games, the casino creates an overflow poker room in a ballroom adjacent to the WSOP tournament games.”

The full report can be found here.

Nevada poker rooms by the numbers

The largest poker rooms in Las Vegas remain unchanged, and as expected, the Strip dominates:

  • Venetian (The Strip) – 37 poker tables
  • Bellagio (The Strip) – 37 poker tables
  • Orleans (Las Vegas off-strip)- 35 poker tables
  • Wynn (The Strip) – 28 poker tables
  • Aria (The Strip) – 24 poker tables
  • South Point Casino (Henderson) – 22 poker tables
  • Green Valley Ranch Casino (Henderson) – 22 poker tables
  • Red Rock Casino (Summerlin) – 20 tables

Historical data and trends of poker in Nevada

Here’s a look at several key poker metrics from the UNLV Center for Gaming Research, which has been tracking the number of poker rooms, tables and revenue since 1992:

Year # of Rooms # of Tables Total Revenue % Change YoY
1992 92 564 74,701,000 -2.57
1993 89 571 70,814,000 -5.20
1994 93 586 71,667,000 1.20
1995 92 574 66,520,000 -7.18
1996 82 539 64,485,000 -3.06
1997 77 490 61,509,000 -4.61
1998 76 526 58,873,000 -4.29
1999 70 546 63,244,000 7.41
2000 68 473 63,064,000 -0.28
2001 65 475 59,673,000 -5.38
2002 57 386 57,791,000 -3.15
2003 58 383 68,276,000 18.15
2004 79 484 98,862,000 44.80
2005 96 701 140,224,000 42.00
2006 106 886 160,929,000 14.77
2007 113 907 167,975,000 4.38
2008 113 913 155,724,000 -7.29
2009 114 905 145,580,000 -6.54
2010 109 920 135,200,000 -7.13
2011 104 872 131,877,000 -2.46
2012 99 809 123,253,000 -6.54
2013 88 774 123,891,000 0.56
2014 79 736 119,904,000 -3.18
2015 76 681 118,023,000 -1.57
2016 73 661 117,753,000 -0.18

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