Gaming revenue tumbles in Nevada, on Strip for third straight month

Gaming revenue in Nevada and along the Strip fell for the third straight month in August although other areas of Clark County reported double-digit increases.

The Gaming Control Board Wednesday said casinos statewide collected $908.2 from gamblers in August, a decline of almost 1.4 percent. Strip casino revenue declined 4.7 percent to $527.4 million.

The Strip declines were due to baccarat, where revenue of $126.5 million declined 24.1 percent over the same month a year ago. Baccarat wagers of $872 million declined 16 percent.

Analysts said they expected volatility to continue in the Strip’s baccarat business given a likely slowdown in Chinese players.

“On the whole, the August results were uninspiring,” said Stifel Nicolaus gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski. “At this point, given the swirling macroeconomic uncertainties in China, we expect the Strip baccarat business to remain under pressure indefinitely.”

Overall table game revenue fell 16.4 percent on the Strip. Slot revenue on the Strip increased 12.1 percent.

“We note that the summer is skewed toward the leisure segment,” said Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Cameron McKnight. “In our view, the softness in gaming volumes is reflective of the current leisure customer increasingly younger, international and nightlife-oriented versus gaming focused.”

The collapse on the Strip during the month was offset by increases in other areas of Clark County.

Downtown casinos grew revenue 15 percent — the market’s 11th increase in the last 13 months.

McKnight said a “clear renaissance” is taking shape in downtown, adding that he expects the growth will continue to increase in September, helped by last weekend’s Life is Beautiful Festival.

North Las Vegas was up 21 percent and the Boulder Strip market grew almost 30 percent. Mesquite was the only other area in Clark County that reported a gaming revenue decline in August, with totals falling 1.9 percent.

The increases led to all of Clark County reporting a less that 1 percent increase for August.

Gaming Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton said the August 2015 calendar had one less Friday than the same month in 2014 while the Labor Weekend was primarily in August last year. He said the timing of slot machine collections helped boost revenue in several Clark County markets.

For the first eight months of 2015, statewide gaming revenue is up less than 1 percent. Strip casinos, however, are down 1.9 percent.

Casino revenue in other parts of Nevada also fell during the month. Washoe County, which includes Reno, was down 4.5 percent, while both Lake Tahoe markets reported double-digit decreases.

Nevada collected $51.6 million in gaming taxes during September based the August gaming results, an increase of 2.2 percent. For the first three months of the fiscal year, gaming tax collections are up 6.8 percent.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Find @howardstutz on Twitter.

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