Nevada gaming revenue continues downward spiral

Dec 10, 2008 8:29 PM
by David Stratton | Nevada casinos in October suffered their worst year-over-year decline ever as gaming win plummeted 22 percent from the same month last year, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board.

Statewide, casinos raked in $904.9 million, a 22.3 percent drop from the same month last year. It was worse on the Las Vegas Strip, which accounts for more than half the state’s gaming win, where revenues nosedived 25.7 percent to $475 million.

The numbers could have been worse if it weren’t for keno and sports betting, the only segments of the casino that generated gains over last year.

All other sector’s of Nevada’s gaming industry – table games, slot machines, horse race betting and poker rooms – suffered year-over-year declines.

The largest declines came from slot play, where most of the denomination games were at least 30 percent below last year’s levels. Even penny slots, which had become the most lucrative of casino slots, suffered its first month-over-month decline ever, about 2 percent.

October was the tenth straight month of slumping revenues. For the year to date, casinos generated $9.8 billion, more than 7 percent less than the first 10 months of 2007.

No region of the state was immune to the slowdown. All the Southern Nevada markets – downtown Las Vegas, Laughlin, Mesquite and Pahrump – were down by an average of 20 percent.

Even the Las Vegas "locals" markets, consisting of the Boulder Strip (down 28 percent), North Las Vegas (down 34 percent) and unincorporated Clark County (down 18 percent), posted sharp declines.

The drop-off was less severe in northern Nevada, where Washoe County and Reno casinos experienced a 7.5 percent slip in gaming revenue to $57.5 million.

As noted, keno and sports betting were the only casino games that posted increases.

Keno win was up a modest 8 percent to $3.8 million, while revenue from sports betting climbed25.7 percent to $18.3 million.

The sports books benefited from strong football action in October, the second full month of the college and NFL seasons.

Sports books won $4.1 million from football bettors, while holding a mere 1.85 percent of a total handle of about $221 million.

Parlay cards did much better, winning $5.1 million, which was actually 21 percent less than in October 2007, but with a whopping hold percentage of more than 40 percent.

Betting on basketball and baseball was also brisk, generating $2.2 million (up 90 percent) and $5.6 million (up 39 percent), respectively.

For a complete analysis of Nevada casino revenue, check next week’s GamingToday, beginning Tuesday.

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