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Richard N. Velotta

Nevada's largest casinos lose $743.7 million in fiscal '14

12 January 2015

LAS VEGAS -- The state’s largest casinos lost $743.7 million in the 2014 fiscal year, nearly cutting their losses in half from the previous year.

The Nevada State Gaming Control Board’s 2014 Nevada Gaming Abstract, published Friday, said the 270 Nevada casinos that generated $1 million or more in gaming revenue reported total revenue of $23.9 billion. In the 2013 fiscal year, 263 casinos that generated $1 million or more lost $1.3 billion on revenue of $23.1 billion.

“Total revenue” is the money spent by patrons on gaming, rooms, food, beverage and other attractions. “Net income” or “loss” is the money retained by casinos after expenses have been paid but prior to deducting federal income taxes and prior to accounting for extraordinary expenses.

It was the sixth straight year that casinos collectively showed a loss, but it was the smallest loss since 2009 when the recession began crushing casino finances.

The state report collects financial data from casinos and reports key statistics of casino revenue by game category, room revenue, food and beverage revenue, occupancy rates, number of employees and revenue per room and per square foot.

The report also breaks down statistics by county and regions within the county in some cases.

In Clark County, 151 casinos grossing $1 million or more in gaming revenue generated a net loss of $746.8 million on revenue of $21.4 billion.

Washoe County had 36 casinos reporting net income of $30.3 million on revenue of $1.4 billion.

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board, said gaming represented less than half of the casinos’ revenue for the 10th straight year. On the Strip, gaming’s contribution to a casino’s total revenue has been less than half for even longer — since 1998.

While Strip revenue losses continue to narrow, 2014 marked a record year for total revenue at $16.31 billion for the 45 Strip properties. Resorts brought in record revenue for rooms ($4.25 billion), food ($2.51 billion), beverage ($1.2 billion) and “other” ($2.35 billion). “Other” revenue includes entertainment, nightclub and retail categories.

What wasn’t at record levels was gaming revenue.

Gaming revenue for the Strip came in at $5.99 billion, representing a 4.2 percent improvement from 2013, but 7.7 percent below the peak level of $6.5 billion in 2007.

In the casino, pit games, which include bingo and keno, generated 48.2 percent of the revenue ($2.89 billion) while slot machines and other coin-operated devices brought in 47.9 percent of the revenue ($2.87 billion).

The rest of the Strip casino revenue came from poker ($97.8 million, 1.6 percent), sports wagering ($107.1 million, 1.8 percent) and the race book ($27.5 million, 0.5 percent).

Casino executives at the Strip resorts handed out $1.5 billion — a quarter of what the casino generated in revenue — in comps.

Other casino expenses at Strip resorts included $13.6 million for executives, $740.4 million for casino employees, $195.3 million for employee benefits and $112.6 million for payroll taxes.