Nevada revenues up again; Atlantic City down; New York racinos up in 2011
After experiencing their biggest revenue improvement in three years this January, Nevada casinos continued their winning ways in February. Statewide gambling revenue rose 5.7% to $932.2m, while Las Vegas Strip gaming revenues rose a more modest 3.3% to $530.7m. Haters are pointing to the fact that this was a leap year, so February 2012 had an extra 3.5% of time in which to reap said revenue. Defenders point to the fact that Chinese New Year occurred in January rather than February this year. Bottom line: a gain’s a gain. Again. This makes five straight months of revenue increases, which the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Michael Lawton says hasn’t occurred since the heady pre-recession days of 2006. Lawton told the Associated Press the numbers were “starting to trend in ways that we really, really want to.”
Baccarat continued to be the Strip casinos’ chief revenue engine, contributing $113.9m to the bottom line. That’s off 19% from Feb. 2011, but still higher than any other table game. Blackjack revenues were up 18.2%, craps was up 16.1% and roulette rose 18.1%. Mini-baccarat and Pai Gow also suffered from the lack of Chinese New Year visitors, falling 59% each compared to the previous year. Ironically, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported a 6% increase in the number of visitors to Sin City in February. But despite 3m warm bodies stepping onto the tarmac, the city’s overall hotel occupancy rate was up only 1% to 82%.
Sadly, Atlantic City has its own revenue trend, and it’s headed in the entirely wrong direction. Despite unseasonably warm temperatures and a couple extra weekend days in March, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported gaming revenues at AC’s 12 casinos fell 5% to $266.3m. Slots revenue was off 2.7% to $191.m, while table game winnings fell 10.6% to $75.2m. AC’s newest gaming joint, Revel, was open for three days at the tail end of the month, so it only contributed $163k to the total. For the first three months of 2012, AC’s gaming revenues are off 6% from 2011, while neighboring Pennylvania reported a new slots revenue record last month. Do AC? Do the math.
In New York, revenues at the state’s nine racinos came in at $1.43b in fiscal 2011 (ending March 31). That’s up 29% from the previous year. The Aqueduct, which only opened its doors in October, brought in $252.7m in net revenue – more than the full year totals of seven of the other eight racinos. Representatives from Aqueduct’s operator, Resorts World Genting, say the figures could be even higher if the state would get around to passing legislation allowing racinos to go the full-blown casino route. While state lawmakers are working on satisfying their constitutional concerns re expanded gaming options, current laws permit only slots and electronic versions of baccarat and roulette. Genting spokesman Stefan Friedman complained to the Daily News that New York “has been losing billions in revenue to other states until now.” Considering one of those ‘other states’ is New Jersey, one should expect AC’s pie to go right on shrinking