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Las Vegas Strip boosts Nevada gaming win in August

Updated September 27, 2019 - 3:03 pm

State gaming win showed its third straight month of improvement, with Strip numbers getting a strong 8.9 percent boost in August, the state Gaming Control Board reported Friday.

Southern Nevada visitation also inched upward during the month, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said.

The board said statewide win was up 4.3 percent to $952.4 million, which broke a two-month string of win totals exceeding $1 billion.

The three straight months of improvements come after five consecutive months of downturns.

Gaming win is the amount casinos collect from wagering.

The Strip drove most of the state’s August gains with strong table and slot play, according to Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board.

“This was the result of strong non-baccarat game and table play which benefited from increased volumes and significant increases to hold percentages,” Lawton said. “For the month, (blackjack) was up 29.2 percent, craps was up 67.3 percent, roulette was up 43.3 percent and sports were up 111 percent.”

Lawton said baccarat was up as well, 6 percent, because of improved hold while volumes were down 7.2 percent.

“Additionally, the Strip continued to see strong slot play, with a 5.2 percent increase in volume and a 1.6 percent increase in win,” Lawton said. “The Strip has only recorded one decrease in slot volume and win this calendar year. As a result of the last three month’s strong performance, the Strip is now in the black for the calendar year, up 0.1 percent and the state is up 0.7 percent calendar year to date.”

The three-month gaming win trend, generally a more telling gauge of activity because it eliminates volatile swings resulting from calendar comparisons, showed a 6.2 percent increase statewide for the months of June, July and August. On the Strip, the three-month win trend was up 9.4 percent.

Downtown Las Vegas had an uncharacteristically down August with win off 1.9 percent to $45.3 million. The three-month average shows win up 7.9 percent.

Statewide, five of the 20 markets monitored by the board were down for the month with North Lake Tahoe showing the biggest decline (down 17.4 percent to $2.7 million). North Las Vegas (16.5 percent), Boulder Strip (12 percent), Downtown Las Vegas and South Lake Tahoe (11.6 percent) also were off.

Wendover showed the best improvement of the month, up 16.3 percent to $18.7 million.

Clark County win was up 4.7 percent to $791.6 million with North Las Vegas down 16.5 percent to $19.4 million and the Boulder Strip off 12 percent to $54.7 million. Mesquite was up 4.8 percent to $9.7 million and Laughlin inched up 1.5 percent to $38.8 million for the month.

Visitation rose 0.7 percent to 3.58 million in August and convention traffic rose 1.7 percent to 657,800, according to the LVCVA.

Citywide occupancy held flat at 87.7 percent for the month, but the average daily room rate rose 4.6 percent to $120.96.

Because the number of rooms in the Las Vegas inventory was up 1.2 percent since August 2018 and the occupancy rate stayed the same, more visitors to Southern Nevada were counted.

“Convention attendance in August was up 1.7 percent year over year with the rotation of some larger shows in and out of Las Vegas largely offsetting one another, and an increase in small and mid-size meetings,” gaming analyst Joseph Greff of New York-based J.P. Morgan told investors in a report. “For the third quarter 2019 to date, visitation is tracking up 0.7 percent year over year and convention attendance is tracking up 9.7 percent year over year.”

The only visitation indicator that declined in August from last year was the estimated number of vehicles daily on major Southern Nevada highways. The Nevada Department of Transportation, which acknowledges that its counts include local traffic, reported daily traffic down 1.5 percent to 124,641 vehicles.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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