CASINO

Nevada revenues dip on drops in baccarat volume and win rate

TAGs: baccarat, Las Vegas, Nevada

vegas-casino-baccarat-revenue-fallsNevada casinos earned $792.5m in gaming revenue during the month of June, a 4.8% slip from the same month a year ago and over $100m less than the state’s gaming joints earned in May 2013. The June swoon was even more pronounced on the Las Vegas Strip, where revenue fell 10.1% to $434.7m. Baccarat is once again the chief driver of Nevada’s boom or bust cycles, with the amount staked on the Asian whale’s game of choice falling 16.8% to $690m coupled with a hold percentage of just 7.44%, down significantly from 12.42% in June 2012. The double whammy pushed baccarat revenue down 49.5% year-on-year to $52.1m.

Statewide slots revenue was up 2.73% to $521m, while slot handle rose 0.2%, the third consecutive month of (admittedly small) growth in slots volume. With baccarat’s numbers in the dumpster, blackjack was the state’s top table game, rising 1.1% to $80m on a 10.8% win rate. Craps revenue fell 8.35% to $34.3m, roulette fell 24.7% to $23.4m, three-card poker rose 2.1% to $12.9m, pai gow poker fell 34.8% to $8.5m, mini-baccarat rose 39.3% to $7.7m, Let It Ride fell 2% to $3.3m and keno dipped 8% to $2.4m. The state’s poker rooms took in $15.9m, up 8.5%.

Nevada’s race books saw winnings fall 14.5% to $4m on a 14% hold. Total sportsbook revenue rose 50.5% to $12.7m on a 7.1% hold. Baseball contributed the lion’s share ($6.9m, +63%) of winnings, while basketball added $3.4m, up 147%. Nevada is up $17.5m since the start of the current baseball season, but July’s baseball results have reportedly been brutal on the books, setting up the possibility of a rare negative month. Stay tuned.

BACCARAT DOMINATES YEAR-END RESULTS
Nevada also released results for its fiscal 2013 ending June 30. Statewide gaming revenue was up 1.8% to $10.9b, while the Strip was up 3.9% to $6.3b. Baccarat revenue rose 13.6% to $1.4b over the past 12 months, while amounts staked rose 7.2% to $11.3b, making baccarat responsible for 34.5% of table game revenue and 13.1% of total gaming revenue. Meanwhile, fiscal 2013 slots revenue fell 0.2% to $6.76b.

The number crunchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas say baccarat’s share of Strip table game revenue has risen from 21.5% in 2004 to 43.9% as of the end of 2012. Interestingly, the UNLV report noted that while slots win is “fairly evenly divided” among all Strip properties, high-end baccarat play was primarily split between six casinos operated by four gaming firms: Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment. Note that only the latter company lacks a presence in Macau, suggesting the ability to cross-sell properties can’t be understated.

VISITORS UP, SPENDING DOWN
Analysts cited the three consecutive months of improved slot handle as proof that ‘mid-level’ customers were returning to Vegas. Indeed, Vegas played host to a record 39.7m visitors in 2012, but those visitors are spending less while they’re in town. Spend per visit was $1,021 in 2012, compared to $1,318 in the pre-recession year of 2007. A study by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority revealed Vegas visitors budgeted $650 to spend on gambling during a 2007 visit compared to just $480 nowadays.

Total gambling and non-gambling entertainment revenue in 2012 was $15.3b, down $500m from 2007. Gambling’s share of total Strip casino revenue has fallen from 58.6% in 1984 to just 36.3% last year. While casino bosses like Caesars’ Gary Loveman trumpet the gains they’ve seen in food and beverage revenue thanks to the Strip’s thriving club scene, the numbers aren’t quite as confident. Food accounted for 15.74% of Strip revenue in 2012, up from 11.4% in 1984, but beverage’s share actually fell to 7.5% last year from 7.7% in 1984. Meanwhile, the ‘other’ category more than doubled over the same period, from 6.1% to 15%, suggesting Vegas’ rebound is more due to Cirque du Soleil, retail shopping and Loveman’s beloved “resort fees.”

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