After five months of modest gains, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has now released its report for March revealing a 10.8% decline in casino revenue to $854.5 million compared to $958.7 million in March 2011.
Overall, slot machine revenue was down 6.7% to $579.7 million while table games were also down 19% to $263.8 million. This figure includes Baccarat down 51.6% to $39.78 million, blackjack down 16.9%, craps down 12.8% and roulette revenues down 18%.
Exaggerating March’s decline in revenue is the fact that the same month in 2011 saw the ConExpo convention attract 140,000 attendees to Las Vegas, with the triennial convention not returning again until 2014. Commenting on March’s casino revenue figres, Union Gaming Group analyst Bill Lerner, said:
“While the headline number is clearly weak, March results were impacted by ConExpo cycling out of the market, timing of slot collections, and low baccarat and tables hold.”
Consequently, Las Vegas Strip suffered a hefty 14.9% decline in revenue to $448.6 million in March. In addition, Downtown Las Vegas was down 11.8% to $43.3 million, Boulder Strip declined 16.9% to $62.7 million, North Las Vegas was down 17.7% to $22.5 million, Laughlin was down 2.3% to $49.8 million, with Clark County reporting a 12.2% decline in revenue overall.
The state then collected $71.5 million in taxes for March, which represented a 10.3% decline compared to last year.
Looking ahead, analyst Bill Lerner striking an optimistic note commented:
“While high-end play was clearly weak even after adjusting for hold, the ‘mass-market’ volume was better. The good news is now with the first quarter on the back burner, the second quarter event calendar is fairly robust and should drive demand in the coming months.”
Recently, the American Gaming Association released its annual report for 2011 confirming Las Vegas as the largest casino market in the USA worth over $6 billion in revenue each year. Across the board, casinos in the States seem to be recovering from the recession and posted a 3% increase to $35.6 billion last year.