20 Years, No Change in Favorite Casino Games in Vegas

Players come and go, but popular casino games in Vegas never change.


Slot Machines the Most Popular Casino Games in VegasLas Vegas is the undisputed gambling mecca of the west. Clark County, Nevada, encompassing the Las Vegas Strip, Downtown Vegas and outlying casino destinations, generates more gambling revenue per day than any other city in the world, except maybe Macau (China), depending on the day of the week.

Ostensibly, should the favorite casino games in the Western Hemisphere pique your interest, there’s no better place to look than Vegas. And despite the multifarious nature of generational gaps, you may be surprised to know that the most popular games have failed to changed in at least the last two decades.

Each year since 1990, the Nevada Gaming Commission releases a unique report known as the Nevada Gaming Abstract. This document reveals gross income across all Nevada casinos, combined and by area, that net a minimum of $1,000,000 per annum. Using this documentation, we can summarize the favorite casino games among players, based on the amount they wager on different gambling amusements each year.

References:
Nevada Gaming Abstract 1997
Nevada Gaming Abstract 2007
Nevada Gaming Abstract 2017

Most Popular Casino Games No Surprise

It should come as little surprise to anyone that the most popular of all casino games in Las Vegas are slot machines. They take up the vast majority of gaming floors at every casino in the Silver State, attracting players of all adult ages with their rhythmic chimes and vibrantly flashing luminescents.

In fiscal year 2017 (FY17), the NGC reports that slot machines accounted for 63.4% of total gaming revenue – US$6.08 billion combined. Jump back ten years to FY07, and the results were similar, with slots accounting for 64.4%, and generating $6.78 billion. A decade prior, the FY97 report suggests 60.4% of revenue from slots, although the actual revenue was much lower at $3.55 billion.

Slot Machine Popularity in Las Vegas / Clark County 1997-2017

Slot Machines by Decade

1997

2007

2017

Percent of Gaming Revenue

60.4%

64.4%

63.4%

Total Revenue (in US billions)

$3.555

$6.781

$6.081

Table Games Second Most Popular

Next up, of course, are table games. They’re actually classified as ‘Pit Revenue‘, and include a bit more than just your everyday table game variety. Blackjack and roulette, baccarat and craps, pai gow poker, casino holdem – all manner of table games – plus keno and bingo, fit into this category. These have retained the #2 rank among favorite Vegas casino games throughout documented history.

The FY17 report puts pit games at 32.6%, worth $3.13 billion. In 2007, they held a similar allure of 31.6% overall revenue, valued at $3.36 billion. Like slot machines, the popularity of tables games was similar in 1997 – a bit more so, inf fact – at 36.5%, yet the revenue was proportionately lower at $2.16 billion.

Pit & Table Games Popularity in Las Vegas / Clark County 1997-2017

Table Games by Decade

1997

2007

2017

Percent of Gaming Revenue

32.6%

31.6%

32.6%

Total Revenue (in US billions)

$2.151

$3.325

$3.125

Least Favorite Casino Games in Vegas

Throughout the last two decades, all remaining casino games have made up less than 5% of the total gaming revenue, year after year. Such wagers include sports betting, race book betting, and live poker.

Poker games, in general, are moderately popular casino games, especially in Las Vegas – the home of the prestigious World Series of Poker Championship. However, unlike most Vegas gambling, poker is not a house-banked game. Casinos only collect a small percentage of the pots in cash games, or nominal fees in tournaments. Thus the revenue they generate from poker is minimal.

Sports, Racing & Poker Popularity in Las Vegas / Clark County 1997-2017

Sports Betting by Decade

1997

2007

2017

Percent of Gaming Revenue

0.7%

1.4%

2.1%

Total Revenue (in US billions)

$0.040

$0.143

$0.200

Race Betting by Decade

1997

2007

2017

Percent of Gaming Revenue

1.5%

1.0%

0.5%

Total Revenue (in US billions)

$0.091

$0.103

$0.048

Poker Betting by Decade

1997

2007

2017

Percent of Gaming Revenue

0.9%

1.7%

1.4%

Total Revenue (in US billions)

$0.052

$0.182

$0.133

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