For the second time in three months, casino winnings have dropped — signaling a potential slowing of the gambling economy in Nevada.
The state Gaming Control Board reported today the clubs won $779.8 million during November, a decline of 3.2 percent or $26.4 million compared to the same month in 1999.
“It was a tough month for everybody except downtown (Las Vegas) and South Lake Tahoe,” said Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the board.
Part of the reason, he said was the casinos in November 1999 reported a 21.9 percent increase in gross revenues, computed before business expenses and taxes. “That’s a hard comparison,” he said.
“Some of the operators say they feel the mid-to-upper end market is slowing down compared to last year, especially on the game side,” Streshley said.
The board said winnings from slot machines inched up by 1.6 percent but revenue from table games dropped by 11.1 percent. This was the third consecutive month of decline in winnings from game and table win.
The board also reported that percentage tax collections reached $276 million for the first six months of this fiscal year, up .4 percent. The prediction for gaming receipts this year is 5.8 percent. So there will have to be a major increase in the final half of the collection period to reach the prediction.
Statewide, baccarat win fell 22.2 percent; 21 was off 3.1 percent; craps decreased by 21.4 percent and roulette fell 18.7 percent. The revenue from sports pools in November gained 5.3 percent.
Winnings on the $1 slot machines fell 8 percent; quarter slots were down 5.7 percent and Megabucks dropped 26.5 percent. But revenue from the nickel slot machines rose 27.6 percent.
For the second time in the last three months, gaming revenues declined on the Las Vegas Strip. Streshley said the business from Comdex was good but there was no major fight to rival the Holyfield-Lewis bout of November 1999 that drew the high rollers to Las Vegas.
Strip casinos reported $398.6 million in gross win, a 7.7 percent decline. But November of a year ago registered a 35.8 percent increase in gaming win. Slot machine revenues rose 3.1 percent this November but table win dropped 16.8 percent. There was a 53.6 percent increase in table revenue in November 1999.
Downtown Las Vegas was one of the bright spots in the state. Casinos won $54.4 million, up 3.3 percent. But last year, the clubs experienced a 2.1 percent decline in revenues. Slot win this November rose 2.4 percent and game and table revenues were up 6.5 percent.
North Las Vegas casinos reported winnings of $21 million, down 2.1 percent. A year ago, the winnings were up 26.1 percent. The board said slot win fell 1.1 percent this November and gaming revenues dropped 9.6 percent.
Clubs along the Boulder Strip bucked the trend in November. They reported $51.8 million in winnings, up 6.6 percent. Slot win rose 3.7 percent and table revenues were up 32.5 percent. Last year, the Boulder market rose by 4.2 percent.
Laughlin clubs recorded their second straight month of declining revenues. Gross revenue reached $44.8 million, down 2 percent. A year ago the revenues were up 11.8 percent. Slot play fell 1 percent and game and table winnings were down 8.1 percent.
Washoe County casinos saw declining revenues for the third time in the last four months. They reported $84.5 million in gross win, down 2.5 percent. Slot win was off 2.1 percent and table revenue fell 3.7 percent.
South Lake Tahoe showed the best performance in the state with revenues up 22.6 percent to $25.2 million. Slot win rose 7.7 percent and table games grew by 32.8 percent. Streshley said that was mostly due to individual marketing plans by the casinos.
Elko County casinos registered $16.3 million in winnings, down 4.2 percent. Slot winnings dropped 5.6 percent but game and table win was up 1.1 percent.
Carson Valley clubs, which include Carson City and the Carson Valley, reported winnings of $6.5 million, down 6 percent. Slots were off 6.9 percent but table games grew by 3.3 percent.