Casinos post record revenues in April

Jun 13, 2006 4:53 AM

Despite signs of a slowing economy, Nevada gaming revenue in April reached an all-time high of $989.8 million, a 12.7 percent increase from April 2005.

Helping to fuel the record gaming win was the mid-month opening of Station’s Red Rock Casino, plus strong gains in blackjack, baccarat and poker.

"More good news for the state of Nevada and its economy," said Governor Kenny Guinn. "As we grow closer to the end of the current fiscal year, the fact that April’s gaming win is an all-time record for the month speaks volumes for Nevada’s continuing legacy as one of the world’s top tourist destinations."

Gov. Guinn’s remarks alluded to recent gains in the number of tourists to Nevada, as well as a 13 percent increase in hotel room rates.

Gaming analysts said revenue increases in Nevada were significant because consumers are facing pressure from higher interest rates, energy and gasoline costs and a slumping housing market.

"Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services expect the economy’s growth rate to slow as the year progresses and to slow further in 2007," said a Wall Street investment analyst. "With a negative consumer savings rate for a record 11 straight months, we believe an economic slowdown is inevitable."

Nevertheless, Nevada casinos remain on a roll. Among the hottest table games were blackjack and baccarat, which enjoyed year-over-year win increases of 25.1 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively.

Craps had a disappointing month as gaming win dropped 4.1 percent in April, although roulette picked up the slack with a solid win increase of 12.3 percent.

Overall, table games generated $315.9 million in April, an increase of 15.7 percent.

Slot revenue in April was $661.1 million, a solid 11.1 percent increase over last April. Penny slot games continued to garner player support as revenue topped $96.6 million, a 39.3 percent increase.

The gaming win from nickel and quarter games decreased 36.1 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively, although this is to be expected as more multi-denomination machines fill casino floors. Multi-denomination slots generated $276.4 million in gaming win, a 43.4 percent year-over-year increase.

Poker continues to post double-digit growth in revenue, up 19.5 percent to $12.7 million. But, as more and more poker rooms are opening their doors, the rate of revenue growth is beginning to flatten.

Last year, poker had a 42 percent increase in revenue, but that rate has slipped to 23 percent over the past three months.

In Nevada’s race and sports books, pari-mutuel betting generated a lackluster $7.3 million in revenue, a dip of 0.6 percent from last April.

Sports betting, however, posted a healthy 50.7 percent revenue increase to $8.9 million, which was spurred by a whopping 226 percent increase in basketball revenue.

Baseball betting, however, got off to a slow start this season as the books won only $4.9 million from players, a 4.9 percent decrease from last year.

"We are kind of surprised at the strength" of the revenue figures, said Frank Streshley, an analyst with the Gaming Control Board. He added that Easter and the April 15 tax filing often deter consumers from visiting Nevada.