Nevada revenues solid in most venues

Jul 18, 2006 2:57 AM

Nevada casinos in May won their second-highest revenue total ever, according to figures released by the Gaming Control Board last week.

The $1.126 billion won in May was second only to the $1.14 billion won in January.

May’s win total represented a 9 percent increase over revenue totals posted in May 2005.

However, because the rate of increase was less than the 14 percent recorded in May 2005 versus May 2004, some Wall Street analysts are forecasting a possible slowdown in revenue growth for the first half of 2006. (See accompanying story on "Casinos feeling the pinch" on page 4.)

There are, however, other revenue trends that could support the analysts’ predictions.

Poker, for instance, in May enjoyed a 12.2 percent increase in revenue over May 2005. But that increase was the smallest (percentage) increase in the last three years.

For all of 2005, poker in Nevada posted a 42 percent increase in revenue over 2005, and most months recorded increases in that range — from 35 percent to 45 percent.

Race and sports betting actually posted smaller revenue totals in May than a year ago, 6.9 percent and 71.5 percent, respectively.

Craps betting also generated less revenue (13.6 percent), as did 3-Card Poker (2.2 percent) and Bingo, whose revenues slid 98 percent from last May’s totals.

The strongest areas of the casino were at the blackjack tables (up 13.8 percent), roulette (up 16.8 percent), baccarat (up 48 percent) and penny slots (up 31 percent).

Other slot games continued to shift their revenue totals. Nickel and quarter games again posted smaller revenue totals (34.9 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively), while multi-denomination games recorded a revenue increase of 30.3 percent.

Overall, slot revenue was 6.8 percent higher than a year ago, while table games enjoyed a 13.5 percent increase.

The Las Vegas Strip accounted for $603.7 million or 65 percent of the state’s revenue, which represents an 11 percent increase from a year ago.

Gamers should be encouraged that downtown Las Vegas — which for many months saw its revenue figures eroding — recorded its second straight month of revenue increases.

In may, downtown casinos took in $58.3 million in May, a slight increase over the $58.1 million recorded in May 2005.

Casinos up north (Reno area) also continued to reverse the trend of slumping revenue. Washoe County casinos brought in $91.19 million, a 3.1 percent increase from May 2005.

So far this year, Washoe casinos are 5.75 percent ahead of fiscal 2005.