Nevada's largest casinos lose $1.2 billion in 2012

Jan 24, 2013 9:12 AM

Nevada’s largest casinos suffered a combined loss of $1.2 billion in 2012 despite an increase in revenues, but stemmed the rate of losses from the previous year, state casino regulators reported Wednesday.

“The annual “Gaming Abstract” released Wednesday by the state Gaming Control Board analyzes the financial information of casinos in the state that gross $1 million or more in casino revenues.

There were 265 Nevada casinos that fell into that category during the 2012 fiscal year that ended June 30 of last year

Casinos reported total revenues of nearly $23 billion, up from $22 billion the previous year.

The 2012 report marks the fourth consecutive year of losses for Nevada’s largest casinos. But it also marks a big improvement over last year, when the resorts had a combined loss of $3.9 billion.

Revenues from gambling amounted to $10.3 billion, up 1.1 percent or $115.1 million over 2011. The gambling revenue accounted for 44.8 percent of total revenue, with the rest coming from restaurants, shops, bars, entertainment and other sources.

In 2007, gambling revenues peaked in Nevada at $12.5 billion.

The latest report confirms a trend noted over the years — that gambling accounts for less of the revenue pie for Nevada’s large casinos.

“The customers’ wallets are being divided and they’re spending more in other areas,” said Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the control board. “Those other areas are growing faster than gaming.”

For example, room revenue of $4.7 billion was up 8.7 percent or $378 million. Food brought in $3.5 billion, up 6.3 percent or $205.2 million. Beverage revenues totaled $1.6 billion, up 8.7 percent of $130.4 million.

“All the other revenue areas are growing at higher rates and dollar amounts than gaming revenue,” Lawton said.

“People come to do other things,” he said noting the expansion of casino gambling across the country. “You can find a crap table and slot machines just about anywhere these days.”

The 44 properties on the Las Vegas Strip included in the report had a net loss of $1.7 billion, down 22.1 percent from a loss of $2.2 billion last year.

It was the fourth consecutive loss recorded.

But total revenues of $15.3 billion were up 5.4 percent from $14.5 billion in fiscal year 2011. Lawton added that the total Strip revenue was only 3.5 percent below peak revenues recorded in 2007 before the Great Recession took its hold in Nevada’s economy and vital tourism industry.

Gambling revenue on the Strip was $5.5 billion, accounting for 36.4 percent of the Strip’s total.

It is the 14th consecutive year that gambling revenues have made up less than 50 percent of all Strip revenue and is the lowest percentage recorded since the early 1980s when such record keeping began, Lawton said.

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