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Nevada casinos see big drop in gambling revenue

MGM2
Nevada casinos won nearly 6% less from gamblers in September than they did during the same month last year, Nevada casino regulators reported.

The report by Nevada's State Gaming Control Board on Wednesday showed casinos statewide won $864 million from gamblers, $53.8 million less than in September 2010, the Associated Press reported.

Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the control board, told the Associated Press that a big decline in the play of baccarat, a volatile, high-roller game favored by Asian players, was largely to blame for the decrease.

Baccarat players wagered $647.4 million in September, down $344 million, or 34.7%. Of that, casinos won $81.9 million, a decline of $46.4 million, or 36.2%, Lawton said.

Excluding baccarat, overall statewide winnings fell less than 1%, indicating the industry's main gambling revenue sources — card games, slot machines, roulette — are showing signs of recovery after years of double-digit decreases during the economic downturn.

"That core business is showing strength," Lawton told the Associated Press.

Gambling revenue on the Las Vegas Strip fell 5.7% to $490.9 million. Strip resorts generate about half of total statewide casino revenues.

Casinos in Reno won $48.9 million for a 2.6% increase over September 2010. South Lake Tahoe casinos, which have struggled with the spread of Indian casinos in California and the recession, saw revenues drop 14.3%.

Gambling-related stocks plunged Wednesday, along with the rest of the world’s markets. Shares of MGM Resorts International fell 7.3%, Wynn Resorts Ltd. dropped 4% and Las Vegas Sands Corp. was down 3.75%. BJK, an exchange-traded fund that holds dozens of gaming stocks, was down 5.1%.

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Photo: MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Credit: Ronda Churchill / Bloomberg

 

 
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