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Nevada revenues continue to slide

Jan 10, 2009 7:58 PM
by David Stratton |

Nevada’s casino industry continued its revenue slide in November, though it wasn’t as steep as the record-breaking decline in October.

The state’s casinos won $836.8 million in November, a 14.8 percent decline from the $982.1 million they won in November 2007, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

For the first 11 months of 2008, Nevada casinos generated about $10.711 billion in gaming revenues, which is about 8.8 percent less than the $11.754 billion they won for the same time period in 2007.

The Las Vegas Strip, which accounts for more than half the state’s gaming revenue, raked in $437.7 million in November, about 16 percent less than a year ago.

Most of Southern Nevada had similar declines: revenue was down 16.3 percent on the Boulder Strip; 18 percent in Laughlin; 1.8 percent in North Las Vegas; and 8.8 percent in Mesquite.

Downtown Las Vegas actually had a respectable November as the nearly $48 million in revenue was just 1.6 percent less than the previous year.

Although slot machine revenue was off about 8 percent, downtown table games posted a 20 percent increase in revenue for the month. Driving the increase was a 3.5 percent increase in blackjack win, a 17 percent increase in craps revenue and a 2,100 percent increase in sports revenue.

Sports betting proved to be one of the stronger segments of the casino statewide. Overall, Nevada sports books generated $27.2 million in November, about 54.6 percent more than they won the previous year.

Fueling the increase was a solid month of football betting, which accounted for a $24.2 million win for the sports books, nearly double the $12.2 million they won a year ago.

In addition to the increased revenues, sports books in November enjoyed a higher hold percentage on all football bets – about 9.6 percent – a sharp increase from the miniscule 1.8 percent they held in October.

Parlay cards added another $3.7 million to the total, though the mark was off about 8.7 percent from the previous November. The hold percentage on parlay cards slipped to 24 percent, down from about 30 percent in November 2007.

Nearly all other segments of the casino posted revenue declines in November. The largest drop-offs were for baccarat (down 29 percent), pai gow poker (down 22 percent), roulette (down 20 percent), Three Card Poker (down 17 percent), and blackjack (down 16 percent).

Overall, table games in the state won about $266.7 million in November, about 14 percent less than a year ago.

The state’s poker rooms, which take a percentage of every pot called a "rake," posted revenues of $11.9 million, about 5.7 percent less than a year ago.

Slot machine revenue, which accounts for nearly 67 percent of the casinos’ total take, generated $558 million, a 15.2 percent drop-off from the previous November.

The only denomination machine not to experience a decline was the penny slot, which increased its win 4 percent to $136.5 million.

Most of the Northern Nevada casinos experienced similar declines. In the Reno area, casinos generated about $49.9 million in November, about 14 percent less than the previous November. Casinos in Elko saw revenues decline about 10 percent to $22.9 million, although South Lake Tahoe casinos fared well as the $21.6 million in revenues were only 4.7 percent less than a year ago.