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Nevada gaming operators rebound with win of more than $1B in June

State gaming win broke a five-month losing streak in June with the year’s third billion-dollar month, the state Gaming Control Board reported Tuesday.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also reported a stellar month with every economic indicator in positive territory and three categories showing their best performance of 2019.

June also ended a six-month losing streak on the Strip, which had win declines for the first five months of 2019 after a downturn in December.

The board said statewide, win in June was up 11.6 percent to $1.041 billion, a record for the month. Clark County was up 14.6 percent to $906.7 million and the Strip — with the second-highest percentage increase in the state for the month — climbed 17.7 percent to $616.6 million.

The market with the highest percentage increase was downtown Las Vegas, which was up 18.6 percent to $52.2 million for the month.

3-month trend nudges up 1%

But the industry shouldn’t get too giddy about the results.

The three-month gaming win trend, generally a more telling gauge of activity because it eliminates volatile swings resulting from calendar comparisons, showed just a 1 percent increase statewide for the months of April, May and June. On the Strip, the three-month win trend was up 0.7 percent.

The board also reported slot and table wins for the 2019 fiscal year that ended June 30.

In most markets, slot win was up and table win down, thanks primarily to declines in baccarat win. Statewide, slot win was up 3.5 percent to $7.8 billion, but table win down 3.9 percent to $4.1 billion.

Strip slot win rises

On the Strip, slot win was up 3.9 percent to $6.4 billion, but table win was off 5.6 percent to $3.2 billion and in downtown Las Vegas, slot win was up 6.5 percent to $460 million while table win was up 4.5 percent to $205.9 million.

Gaming analyst Joseph Greff of New York-based J.P. Morgan said in a report to investors Tuesday that the June win was up despite the calendar having one less weekend date in 2019 than 2018.

“Our key takeaways from the report are that Las Vegas Strip win excluding baccarat increased 1.8 percent year over year, Strip slot handle increased 7.7 percent year over year with win increasing 10.2 percent year over year and Strip baccarat win increased 117 percent on a 20.3 percent increase in drop as well as high hold at 20.9 percent,” Greff said.

Baccarat drove gains

Baccarat was the key driver of the successful month, according to Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board.

“The baccarat increase was the result of volume ($762.5 million) being up 19.5 percent and most importantly, baccarat’s hold percentage was significantly higher than normal coming in at 20.71 percent vs.11.55 percent last year,” Lawton said. “If you recall, last month the hold was just 7.55 percent.”

Sports betting solid

Lawton also indicated Nevada isn’t quite ready to relinquish its title as the top sports pool revenue generator in the country to New Jersey.

“Sports pools in Nevada won $16.6 million, down 18.1 percent on a hold of 5.15 percent vs. 7.05 percent last June,” Lawton said. “Volumes were $321.8 million, an all-time record for the month of June, which was an increase of $34.5 million or 12 percent. Baseball and basketball wagering led the way with increases of $19.8 million and $18.7 million, respectively. I believe New Jersey recorded $273.2 million in handle in June which is $48.6 million less than Nevada or 17.8 percent for the same period.”

Occupancy rate soars

Meanwhile, the LVCVA’s visitation numbers showed improvement for the second straight month, up 1.2 percent to 3.607 million. For the month, 2019 highs were achieved in citywide occupancy, average daily highway auto traffic and Clark County gaming win.

“The destination is thriving with more than $15 billion in development from our Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and renovation to the new stadium underway,” said Steve Hill, CEO for the LVCVA.

The high occupancy rate occurred despite a 1.3 percent increase in room inventory to 149,627 rooms.

The average daily room rate of $120.43 was the lowest level of 2019, but strong occupancy boosted the average revenue per available room 4.7 percent to $110.43, which also was the lowest amount of 2019.

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

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