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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Nevada gaming revenue increases 1.5% in September

30 October 2015

Statewide and Strip gaming revenue ended a three-month slide in September.

The Gaming Control Board said Thursday casinos in Nevada collected $916.3 million from gamblers during the month, an increase of 1.5% from a year ago.

On the Strip, casino revenue grew 2% to $504.8 million in September.

Baccarat play on the Strip returned to more normal levels in September, with revenue from the game increasing 23.2% to $100.5 million while volume grew 16.5% to $751.9 million. The monthly increases in both areas were just third time this year that the game has seen a one-month uptick.

Gaming Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton said September offered an "apples to apples comparison" for baccarat, which has been affected by the Chinese government's crackdown on corruption that has ensnared high-end Macau junket operators.

Gaming analysts have said the Macau troubles have seeped into the Strip's baccarat business.

"The weakness in Strip baccarat play this year is related to the anti-corruption initiative in China and the monitoring of Chinese visitors in Las Vegas," said Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Cameron McKnight.

Lawton said September was also a "strong events calendar" in Las Vegas, with the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas hosting both a UFC fight card and what has been said to be the last championship boxing match featuring Floyd Mayweather Jr. Also, Labor Day weekend fell entirely into September this year and the Life is Beautiful concert took place during the month rather than in October.

McKnight said the September results on the Strip "were in line with our expectations of low single-digit growth."

Clark County saw mixed results for September. Gaming revenue totals were up 1.3%, helped in part by downtown Las Vegas, which saw gaming revenue increase more than 9%.

Downtown gaming revenue has increased in eight consecutive months and 12 of the last 14 months.

Laughlin was the only other Clark County gaming market to show an increase, with gaming revenue up 7.8% in September. The Colorado River community casinos have reported gaming revenue increases in seven of the last nine months.

In Northern Nevada, Reno gaming revenue grew 9.1% to $52.9 million, fueling an 8% increase for all of Washoe County.

Gaming analyst Frank Fantani said in his Fantini Gaming Research report that Reno could be in the "start of long-term improvement as the region grows thanks to Tesla moving in and the city starting to attract small tech companies."

Through the first nine months of the year, statewide gaming revenue is up 0.3% while Strip casinos have seen gaming revenue decline 1.5%.

The Control Board said the state collected more than $58 million in gaming taxes during October, based on September's revenue totals, a decline of 12.2% from a year ago. Statewide gaming tax collections are up less than 1% for the first four months of the fiscal year.