Positive August numbers has Las Vegas wondering if the worst is over

Las-Vegas-Positive-AugustFor the first time in a long time, Las Vegas casinos are posting black ink on their ledgers. Casinos on the Strip saw August gambling revenue soar 21% over the same month in 2009. South Lake Tahoe properties were up 7.2%, Carson Valley was up 7.7%. It wasn’t all positive – business was off 1.4% at downtown Las Vegas casinos, while Washoe County (including Reno and Sparks) was off 3.1%.

Vegas has seen almost 22M visitors in the seven months through July, a 2.3% boost over the previous year, although convention attendance fell 1.4%. And less visitors are flying to Vegas, as passenger traffic at McCarran Intl. Airport was down 2.4%.

The Friday flurry of good news prompted a spike in the fortunes of Vegas-related stocks. MGM Resorts was up almost 9%, Las Vegas Sands was up 4%, and both Wynn Resorts and Boyd Gaming were up 5%.

Overall, state-wide revenues in August were up 11.5%, which is good news for the state government, which will reap 24.4% more taxes as a result. So will these ‘green shoots’ of growth be enough of a boost to allow Sen. Harry Reid to keep his job come November?