December 2019 visitorStats-02-13-20: Gross gaming revenues in Mesquite continue to increase yearly as the number of visitors continued a downward trend for the second year in a row. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

From a post-recession high in 2017, Mesquite visitor volumes fell for a second straight year in an annual count with a 1.2 decline from the previous year. That follows a 4.4 decline in 2018 compared to 2017.

Calendar year 2017 posted the best annual visitor counts since the great recession in 2008 with 1,368,500. That number fell by 60,300 to 1,308,200 in 2018.

The total number of visitors to Mesquite in 2019 came in at 1,293,100.

The brightest star in the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority (LVCVA) reports for all three years is the rising trend in gross gaming revenues.

The annual total gaming take for 2017 was 124.536 million, a rise of 5.8 percent from 2016’s take of $117.750 million. In 2018 gross gaming revenues increased 4.6 percent to $130.353 million.

For 2019, the LVCVA reported gross gaming receipts rose 4.8 percent to $136.656 million.

Mesquite Councilman George Rapson, who is the city’s representative on the LVCVA Board of Directors, said there are three possible reasons why gaming revenues continually increase while visitor volumes continue to decline. He also served as General Manager of the Casablanca Casino Resort for seven years.

“We are seeing an increase in our local population counts – those people who call Mesquite home. Perhaps locals are gambling more. The second reason could be that existing casino customers from out-of-town are better gamblers,” he said.

“A combination of the two is a more probable reason for the increase in gaming revenues versus the decrease in visitor counts,” Rapson said. “It may be that the current visitor profile the casinos are attracting are spending more gaming now.”

In a comparison of the 12 calendar months between 2018 and 2019, seven of them showed declines in the number of visitors. Four months, January, April, May, and August had an increase in visitors. March was flat.

May had the largest percentage increase at 1.5 percent while April had the second largest increase at 1.3 percent. February had the largest decrease in visitor volumes at 5.0 percent, followed by July with a 4.1 decline.

The LVCVA report showed a miniscule increase of 0.1 percent in the total occupancy rates for 2019 ending the year with a 76.3 percent fill rate of hotel rooms.

The average daily room (ADR) rate for Mesquite hotels increased 1.9 percent for the year coming in at an average of $61.43. That’s slightly higher than the 2018 average of $60.29.

For the year, six months showed positive gains in the ADR, January, March, April, May, October, and November. April had an 8.2 percent increase in ADR with May’s ADR coming in 7.7 higher than the previous year.

ADR fell in February, June, July, August and September. December’s ADR was flat compared to the rate in 2018. July’s ADR declined 9.1 with September dropping 5.1 percent.

The yearly average revenue per available room (RevPAR) trailed the ADR statistics also increasing 1.9 percent. The monthly numbers followed the same as ADR.

Total room nights occupied ended 2019 with a 1.2 decline at 521,800, year-to-year. Only four months showed increases, January, April, May, and August. May had the largest increase at 1.4 percent while February had the largest decrease at 5.0 percent.

Average daily auto traffic on I-15 at the Nevada Arizona border increased 1.0 percent from 2018 to 2019 coming in at 28,773 vehicles a day.