Nevada casinos see big drop in gambling revenue
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%.
-- Stuart Pfeifer
Photo: MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Credit: Ronda Churchill / Bloomberg