Nevada Casino Gambling Revenues Fall Almost 14% in February 2014
Nevada casinos showed a combined drop of 13.7% in February 2014, compared to the same month last year. The decline is cause for concern in some circles, though the lower numbers were anticipated by the Nevada casinos as part of the standard business cycle. The consensus believes the drop-off is due to a combination of high roller baccarat winnings and a simple failure to live up to the record numbers of 2013.
February 2013 saw a $1.1 billion month, which is the highest total for February in Nevada gaming history. Casinos throughout Nevada combined to record $926.1 million in revenues this past month. Because those numbers are more in keeping with recent trends, the decline in revenues year-to-year was expected.
Las Vegas Strip Decline
The news is troubling for the Las Vegas Strip casinos, though, because they recorded a dramatic decline in their revenues. The gaming revenue was down from $696.1 million in 2013 to $555.7 million in 2014.
Downtown Las Vegas Had Good Numbers
In Downtown Las Vegas, the numbers reported were positive. Las Vegas Downtown casinos reported a 3% increase in revenues from last year at this time. Part of the increase is because more gambling operations exist. In October 2013, the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino opened. Still, casinos like Binion’s, Fremont, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas Club, Four Queens, Las Vegas Plaza, El Cortez, and Main Street Station reported solid numbers.
February Events Helped
Traditional February events like the Chinese New Year and Super Bowl Sunday helped in both years. The Super Bowl this year was on February 2nd, while last year it was on February 3rd. That might not sound like much of a difference, but the betting numbers from the Friday before the Super Bowl were put on January’s numbers this year, while last year they were added to February. Given the $119 million wagered on the Super Bowl this year, that extra day would have accounted for tens of millions of extra dollars.
Reno and Lake Tahoe Revenues
Revenues in Reno and South Lake Tahoe were mixed, as Reno made modest gains and Lake Tahoe had a major decline. Reno saw an increase of just under 1%, up to $44 million in the month. South Lake Tahoe had a major decline of 9.5%, down to $14.7 million.
Online Gambling Statistics
For the first time since it was approved 10 months ago, Nevada’s Gaming Control Board posted statistics for the three online gambling websites which operate legally in the state. Online poker accounted for $824 thousand or roughly 8.9% of all card game revenues. Online poker has generated $8.5 million in revenue since the rollout in spring 2013. Such numbers represent less than one single month for the New Jersey online gaming industry, which explains why Nevada’s governor signed an online poker compact with the governor of Delaware.
For Nevada’s casinos to see a significant contribution from the segment of its operations, that gaming compact will need to attract dozens of other U.S. states, like the interstate lotteries grew over the decades. The Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries now include 45 states.
Strike May Affect Future Numbers
The Culinary Union Local 226 voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike at the Downtown Las Vegas casinos. Such a strike could cause disruptions that would hurt the numbers of the downtown casinos in the city. More than 99% of the 5,000 members who were eligible to vote were involved in the decision. The Culinary Union is the largest union in Las Vegas, with over 55,000 workers.
Properties such as El Cortez, Four Queens, Binion’s, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, Main Street Station and The D properties, Las Vegas Plaza, Fremont, and Las Vegas Club would be affected. The Margaritaville bar on the Strip would be involved in the strike. The linen service workers at Brady Laundries in North Las Vegas also would strike. The Culinary Union also represents some workers at McCarran International Airport, along with the Valley Hospital Medical Center.
The labor contract expired in summer 2013 and union leaders have been bargaining with management since then. With those negotiations going on nearly a year after the expiration of the previous collective bargaining agreement, the union has decided the time is now to force the hand of owners.
On the Las Vegas Strip, negotiations have been more fruitful. MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, which between them own a majority of the properties on the Strip, negotiated a 5-year contract with the Culinary Union. Independent casino operations like the Tropicana, Treasure Island, Riviera, and Stratosphere also signed 5-year contracts. Just last week, the Las Vegas Hilton also joined the large gaming entities in town in negotiating a 5-year deal with its workers.