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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Nevada casinos lose a combined $1.21 billion in fiscal 2012

24 January 2013

LAS VEGAS -- When does a net loss of more than $1.21 billion not seem so bad?

When it's compared with a net loss of almost $4 billion in the previous year.

Nevada's casino industry suffered through its fourth straight fiscal year net loss despite 4.4 percent growth in total revenues over the 12-month period, according to the annual Gaming Abstract, which the Nevada State Gaming Control Board Gaming Commission released Wednesday.

The report compares revenues and income produced by casinos generating more than $1 million in gaming revenues during the fiscal year, which ended June 30.

In 2012, the abstract included results from 265 casinos statewide. Together, the casinos had a net loss of $1.21 billion on total revenues of more than $22.9 billion. In fiscal 2011, 256 casinos generated a net loss of almost $4 billion on revenues of $22 billion.

Total revenue includes money spent by casino customers on gaming, rooms, food, beverage and other attractions. The net loss was the money retained by casinos after expenses have been paid but before deducting federal income taxes and prior to accounting for extraordinary expenses.

Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton said the general expense line for "other general and administrative expenses" was the main reason for the net loss narrowing by almost 70 percent.

In fiscal 2011, the line item included asset write-downs, impairment charges and other matters related to gaming industry bankruptcy reorganizations and financial restructuring efforts.

In fiscal 2012, the restructuring efforts slowed. The figure was $1.3 billion, a decrease of 61.8 percent compared with $3.4 billion in 2011.

"That number is stabilizing," Lawton said, adding that the 2012 figure was the lowest number in that category since fiscal 2004.

Gaming revenue accounted for almost $10.3 billion, or 44.8 percent of total revenue, the 14th consecutive year that nongaming revenues outpaced gaming revenues. In 2011, gaming revenue accounted for 46.2 percent of the total revenues statewide.

"Customer spending patterns have been changing over the years," Lawton said. "With 55.2 percent of the total revenues, nongaming spending was the highest combined share ever in the abstract."

Statewide, gaming revenues in the fiscal year grew 1.1 percent over 2011.

Revenues from hotel rooms were $4.7 billion, up 8.7 percent from a year ago; revenues from food sales were $3.5 billion, up 6.3 percent; beverage sales were $1.6 billion, up 8.7 percent; and other revenues, which includes retail and shows, was $2.9 billion, an increase of 5 percent.

On the Strip, the divide was more pronounced. Total revenues there were almost $15.3 billion, a 5.4 percent increase over 2011. Gaming revenues were almost $5.6 billion, a 1.1 percent increase but just 36 percent of the overall total.

Strip casinos lost $1.7 billion in fiscal 2012, but other areas of the state and of Clark County reported positive net income for same period.

The balance of Clark County, Boulder Strip - which includes Henderson - and Laughlin all reported positive net income. The balance of Clark County grew total revenues 3.7 percent, gaming revenues by 1.9 percent and had net income of $569.3 million.

In Clark County as a whole, total revenues were $20.4 million, a 4.8 percent increase. Clark County's total revenues accounted for more than 88 percent of state's overall figure.

Also in fiscal 2012, 70 casinos owned by publicly traded companies accounted for 78 percent of state's total gaming revenue generated during the fiscal year.

The 265 casinos paid $799.6 million in gaming taxes and fees during the fiscal year, which equated to 7.8 percent of their gaming revenue.