Is Chinese New Year and baccarat bubble really to blame?
Gaming revenues in January fell 12.4 percent statewide and 18.7 percent on the Strip based on a challenging comparison to figures produced by Nevada’s resort industry a year ago.
The Gaming Control Board said Friday that Nevada casinos collected $909.2 million from customers during January, down from $1.038 billion a year ago. On the Strip, casinos won $507 million, compared with $623.5 in the same month of 2012.
January 2012 was the state’s first billion dollar gaming revenue month since September 2008 – a 40-month drought – fueled by the lucrative Chinese New Year holiday celebration.
This year, Chinese New Year, and the high-end baccarat play associated with the event, fell into February.
Because Chinese New Year moves around the calendar, gaming analysts said the combined two-month figures provide a better reading.
Nevada casinos collect $10.8 billion in 2012
Nevada’s casino industry posted its third straight annual gaming revenue increase in 2012 as the industry continues its modest recovery amid a sluggish economy.
Analysts noted the results were helped by high-end baccarat play, the game that has bolstered the industry’s bottom line since Las Vegas companies began doing business in Macau in 2004.
Statewide, casinos collected $10.86 billion in gaming revenue in 2012, a 1.5 percent increase over $10.7 billion in 2011.
“We are slowly increasing revenues,” said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. “We are still 15.5 percent below the peak in 2007, but we are gradually moving in the right direction.”
Nevada gaming revenues were $12.8 billion in 2007, Lawton said. On the Strip, gaming revenues increased 2.3 percent over 2011 with casinos collecting $6.2 billion, marking a second straight year revenues topped $6 billion.
Nevada gaming revenues rise 3.3 percent in September
Forget about baccarat for at least one month.
Football wagering revenues offset declines in baccarat results during September, propelling Nevada to a modest gaming revenue increase.
Statewide, casinos collected $892.7 million in gaming revenues in September, a 3.3 percent increase compared to the same month a year ago according to figures released Thursday by the Gaming Control Board.
On the Strip, casinos collected $496.5 million from gamblers during the month, a 1.2 percent increase over September 2011.
Baccarat results – which have predominantly been the stepping-off point for whether or not that state and the Strip had a positive revenue month over the past few years – declined in September.
Thank you baccarat players
Nevada recorded its second $1 billion gaming revenue month of 2012 during July – the first time in four years the state has seen multiple billion-dollar months – due in large part to a near-record performance in baccarat play.
Nevada casinos collected $1.005 billion from customers during July, according to figures released Monday by the Gaming Control Board.
Revenues increased almost 17 percent from the $860.1 million collected in July 2011.
On the Strip, gaming revenues jumped 27.5 percent to almost $597.5 million, compared to $468.5 million in July 2011.
Baccarat was the driving force behind the revenue increase. Casinos collected $189.9 million gamblers, a jump of 111.8 percent from a year ago. Gamblers wagered $1.2 billion on baccarat during the month, a 28.9 percent increase from a year ago.
Slot Revenues Soar as Visitor Volume and Poker Revenues Retreat
According to the latest Nevada State Gaming Board report, gaming revenues in Nevada rose nearly 6.2% in April. And as Chris Sieroty noted, high-end baccarat was a key driver for the state’s performance as well as the Strip’s 7.5% revenue boost.
High-end baccarat gets a lot of attention because it is seen as a barometer for the health of the Chinese economy. But by focusing on the high-end metrics, analysts are missing the resurgence in the low-end, locals, market.
The Local Rebound
The Strip’s gains were dwarfed by two of Clark County’s smaller gaming markets. In April, gaming revenues in North Las Vegas, cited as one of the ten worst-run cities in America, were up 42.3%. Downtown gaming revenues also got a nice 25.0% bump, aided in part by the reopening of the Plaza last September.
You won’t find too many baccarat whales Downtown or in North Las Vegas. What you will find are slot-playing locals. Slot revenues rose 53.3% in North Las Vegas and up 34.7% Downtown. Local-centric Station Casinos offered more evidence of a home-grown rebound, posting its best earnings in three years.
No Thanks to Tourists or Poker
Better gaming revenues gains were not the result of more visitors to Las Vegas. April was the first month in roughly two years to see a drop in visitor volume. According to the latest Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority report, visitor volume was down 0.9%. Hotel and motel occupancy was down 1.2%, while convention attendance dropped 4.9%.
Gaming revenues were also not helped by poker. Card game revenues in April were down 0.6% in the state, down 8% in Clark County and down 10.9% on the Strip. Unlike visitor volume, the drop in poker is not a new phenomenon. Poker’s waning revenue stream is a continuing trend, which we covered here in detail.