By Steve Beauregard (Updated for 2017)
There are 104 casinos in Las Vegas, not including “Louie,” a taxi driver who runs a semi-regular craps game behind the 7-11 on Friday nights.
By “Las Vegas” I mean the Las Vegas valley, including downtown, the Strip, and suburbs, even though, technically, some of these are not in the city limits of Las Vegas. In fact, parts of the Las Vegas Strip are not even, technically, in the city of Las Vegas. Either way, we count those casinos in the 104 total.
For our purposes, we are using figures from the Nevada Gaming Commission’s “unrestricted gaming licenses,” which defines a casino as a business with more than 15 slot machines or one with table games.
Some of the many casinos in Las Vegas
So in other words, we’re not counting the local 7-11 with a video poker machine as a casino. The neighborhood bar with a few video poker machines, or the corner gas station with a few slot machines aren’t considered casinos by the Nevada Gaming Commission, and thus, aren’t counted here.
(Related: How many casinos are in Nevada?)
There is no official record of the number of casinos within the exact city limits of Las Vegas, so we have to go off of the reported figures as determined by the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, which is a pretty good source considering they have authority over the ownership, games, licenses, and everything else to do with casinos and gambling in Nevada.
There are 172 casinos in Clark County, as of January 1, 2017, according to the Nevada State Gaming Control Board. (This is up exactly 1 casino from 2016, but down 4 from the 176 casinos in Clark County in 2015). For those of you unaware, Las Vegas is in Clark County, as are the gambling destinations of Mesquite, and Laughlin, Nevada. This 172 figure also includes the casinos in nearby Primm. Overall, Clark County has roughly 2 million people, and encompasses all of Southern Nevada.
There are officially 20 casinos in downtown Las Vegas
87% of the state’s gambling revenue comes from casinos in Clark County, Nevada, and 57% of the state’s gambling money comes from the Las Vegas Strip.
The 172 casinos in Clark County took in $9.7 billion in gaming revenue for the 2016 calendar year. This is up just slightly from the $9.6 billion earned in 2016 and up slightly from the $9.5 billion in gaming revenue for 2014.
Clark County’s gaming revenues were $9.7 billion 2013, meaning there hasn’t been any growth in gaming revenue in Clark Country in 4 years.
Although Clark County has 172 casinos, we cannot count the 172 figure in our Las Vegas figure, seeing as how some of those casinos are pretty far away from town.
(Related: How many casinos are on the Las Vegas Strip?)
Fortunately, the state of Nevada separates gaming revenue figures into many different geographical sections – four of which would apply to Las Vegas: The Strip, Downtown, North Las Vegas, and The Boulder Stip.
Of the 172 casinos in Clark County, Nevada, there are currently (as of January 1, 2017), 40 casinos in the Las Vegas Strip area.
For their purposes however, the Nevada Gaming Commission includes casinos that are not actually on Las Vegas Boulevard as being Strip casinos in their figures. These include major resorts like the Rio, the Palms, the Hard Rock, and the Westgate. Also included in this list, are off-Strip properties like Hooters, the Orleans, and the Gold Coast. As you might expect, these 40 casinos represent the vast majority of gaming income in Las Vegas. In fact, in 2016, the Strip accounted for 57% of all the gaming revenue in Nevada.
In 2016, Las Vegas Strip casinos generated $6.376 billion in gaming revenue, down slightly from the $6.348 billion in gaming revenue generated in 2015. It nearly matched the 2014 figures.
Las Vegas Strip Gaming Revenue
2016: $6.376 billion
2015: $6.48 billion
2014: $6.372 billion
2013: $6.5 billion
2012: $6.2 billion
(Go here to find the answer to the question: What was the first casino on the Las Vegas Strip?)
There were 20 casinos reporting revenue in the downtown Las Vegas/Fremont Street area in 2016. These 20 downtown casinos had gaming revenues of over $564 million in 2016, which was up over 4% from the $542 million in 2015.
Downtown Las Vegas Gaming Revenue
2016: $564.6 million
2015: $542 million
2014: $511 million
2013: $501 million
2012: $509 million
In contrast, the 40 casinos on the Las Vegas Strip took in approximately $6.4 billion in 2016. So although the Strip has just over twice as many casinos, it has over 11 times more gambling revenue than downtown. This really isn’t surprising given the modest size of many of the cozy casinos on Fremont Street as compared to the behemoths like the Bellagio and MGM Grand on the Strip.
North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas has 12 casinos, again, according to the Nevada State Gaming Control Board. Casinos in North Las Vegas are mainly locals-oriented, and are, (how should I say this?) less glamorous than their cousins on the Strip.
North Las Vegas Casinos include the Station chain properties: Santa Fe Station Hotel and Casino and the Texas Station, as well as the old-school classic joint: Jerry’s Nugget, which has been around since 1964. My friend Ken stops there every time he’s in Las Vegas, as they always have very low minimums on the craps tables. Also in this North Las Vegas category are the Cannery Casino and the Aliante Hotel and Casino, which was built in 2008.
In 2016, these North Las Vegas casinos brought in $275 million in gaming revenue, up from the $271 million in gaming revenue in 2015.
Sam’s Town is one of the 100 plus casinos in Las Vegas
The Boulder Highway area covers some casinos in Las Vegas suburbs, or those on the outskirts. These are mostly locals places, and include casino/hotels such as Sam’s Town, Boulder Station, Fiesta Station, Green Valley Ranch, and such. There are 31 casinos in this area.
It may surprise you to learn that casinos in the Boulder Strip area bring in more gambling revenue than downtown Las Vegas. This area of mostly “locals” casinos is roughly seven to ten miles east and southeast of the Las Vegas Strip. While many tourists have probably never played there, this section of town, which includes Henderson, Nevada, is an impressive player in the casino market.
There are 32 casinos on the Boulder Strip. These thirty-two casinos brought in $787 million in gaming revenue during 2016, versus the $784 million in gaming revenue in 2015.
This marks a slight uptick from both the $786 million in revenue generated in 2013. Like the Strip, this area has basically remained completely flat for the past 4 years.
Other Boulder Strip casinos include the Eastside Cannery Casino, the pretty swank M Resort Spa and Casino, Arizona Charlie’s Boulder Hotel and RV Park, Sunset Station, and Joker’s Wild, among others.
Although we call it a locals casino, the Green Valley Ranch is a draw for tourists, due in part to its luxurious accommodations and amenities, as well as being featured on TV a few years back. The reality show, “American Casino” was filed at the Green Valley Ranch, and it got many Vegas travelers (including me) to want to venture off of the standard Strip properties to try something new.
So while there are plenty of slot machines and video poker machines tucked away in the corner of nearly every grocery store and gas station in Sin City, when it comes to actual legitimate casinos, there are 104 of them in Las Vegas.
(Top photo courtesy of Prayitno and Pierre Andre Leclercq, and Ken Lund via Flickr).