Hot Summer for Poker in Nevada as July Table Revenues Rise

Nevada poker rooms made more money in July than Scott Blumstein did. But the 2017 WSOP champ may have had something to do with poker in the Silver State’s growing profitability.

The Pavilion Room at the Rio

The masses of players who flock to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker are a big reason for the summer success in Nevada poker rooms. (Image: WSOP.com)

According to revenue reports from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB), the state’s poker rooms raked in $12.46 million in July, only about a one percent increase year-over-year, but still the best results for the month since 2011 ($13.52 million).

These revenue numbers followed June totals of $16.67 million, up year-over-year by about 3.4 percent, and the best June in Nevada since 2007.

WSOP Influence

June and July are the biggest months in poker, and have been for more than a decade, especially in Las Vegas. With the World Series of Poker at the Rio, poker players flock to town each week by the tens of thousands.

One explanation for the slight increase in profits in July compared to 2016 had to do with the WSOP Main Event schedule change. Since 2008, the final table took place in October or November, but that all changed this year when the WSOP decided to crown its champion in July.

The tournament played down to the final nine on July 16 but didn’t end until July 22. The extra week gave out-of-town poker players reason to stick around longer. That likely helped the state rake in some extra dough last month.

The WSOP concluded on July 22 when Scott Blumstein took down the Main Event for $8.15 million.

Card rooms all over Las Vegas benefit from the WSOP, not just at the Rio. Cash game wait lists, leading up to the conclusion of the Main Event, at casinos such as Aria and Bellagio are massive during the summer.

Poker Room Shrinkage

According to GCB, Nevada had 63 poker rooms with 724 tables in July 2017. A year earlier there were 68 poker rooms with 763 tables in the state.

While more poker rooms have closed in Las Vegas (Monte Carlo, Luxor) than have opened (Westgate), the consolidation of players on fewer tables seems to be good for the overall industry as bigger rooms (Aria, Bellagio, Venetian, Wynn) continue to thrive.

When August’s numbers come out, they’ll be less than July’s, as the month after the WSOP often is like a poker hangover in Las Vegas. After more than seven weeks of grinding at the WSOP and other games around town, a lot of players’ bankrolls have been depleted and kidneys have been punched.

However, it will be interesting to see how they compare with August 2016 ($8.24 million). The topline number’s on a trajectory to grow, and despite signs of shrinkage, poker in Nevada as a whole is still doing better than the game’s biggest winner of the year.

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