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Nevada gaming win hit $1B again in October

State gaming win hit the $1 billion mark for the second month in a row in October and the 46th time ever, but it still trailed year-ago numbers, marking the end of four straight months of year-over-year increases.

Southern Nevada visitation also ended a string of five monthly increases in October, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said.

The state Gaming Control Board on Tuesday also reported Clark County win was off 5.1 percent to $879 million and Strip win tumbled 9.2 percent to $538.5 million.

Downtown Las Vegas weathered the statewide drop, increasing 7.2 percent to $68.3 million for the month.

Statewide win totaled $1.022 billion, down 3.85 percent from October 2018.

3-month win up 23.%

The three-month gaming win trend, generally a more telling gauge of activity because it eliminates volatile swings resulting from calendar comparisons, showed a 2.3 percent increase statewide for the months of August, September and October. On the Strip, the three-month win trend was up 1.7 percent and in Downtown Las Vegas, it climbed 8.85 percent.

The main reason for October’s decline was a tough comparison to last year’s table-game revenue, said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board.

In general, casino patrons played luckier and less than in October 2018.

“Game and table win of $322.8 million decreased by 12.6 percent, $46.5 million, compared with a 10.8 percent increase in October 2018,” Lawton said. “Baccarat win was impacted by decreased volume and a poor hold percentage. Baccarat win of $56.7 million was down 25.7 percent, $19.6 million.”

Blackjack and roulette win got hammered as well. Blackjack win was off $33.2 million, or 26.5 percent, while roulette revenue fell $12.3 million — 30.3 percent — and roulette drop was down 14.5 percent.

Slots and sports betting helped limit the damage to casinos.

Sports books do well

The state’s sports books hit a daily double, with higher drop ($543.8 million, up 2.6 percent) and better hold (8.81 percent vs. 5.59 percent) than in October 2018. For the calendar year, sportsbook win is up 14.2 percent and the drop is up 6.9 percent.

Slot win inched up 0.8 percent ($5.5 million) to $699.1 million compared with 5.77 percent a year ago. Slot win is now up 2.7 percent for the calendar year and the monthly win amount of $699.1 million is nearing the $700 million mark, a level that hasn’t been recorded since March 2008.

Overall, Lawton is encouraged.

“Although this month represents a decrease, the state is still up 0.9 percent, calendar year to date, and this month represents the sixth time this calendar year that $1 billion in gaming win has been recorded,” he said. “This exceeds calendar year 2008 when this bellwether amount was reached five times.”

The LVCVA reported visitor volume down 0.3 percent to 3.668 million for the month with the decline attributed to the 21.1 percent plunge in convention attendance.

Show rotations to blame

The convention decline was due to event rotations, with the National Association of Convenience Stores (25,000 attendees) and Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (24,000) not in Las Vegas this year and IMEX America (16,500) and Live Design International (14,500) in months other than October.

Other key indicators also fell in October.

Citywide occupancy fell 1.4 points to 90 percent and the average daily room rate was off 5 percent to $135.33 compared with last year.

Visitation was down despite increases in McCarran International Airport passenger traffic (up 4.2 percent to a record 4.609 million) and a fractional increase in traffic on major highways into Las Vegas (up 0.2 percent to 120,983).

The lower occupancy rate for the month wasn’t as bad as it could have been, thanks to the 98 percent weekend occupancy rate, the highest level of 2019.

Joseph Greff, a gaming industry analyst with New York-based J.P. Morgan also noted that occupancy rates were affected by a 1.1 percent increase in room inventory to 149,282 since October 2018.

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

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