Nevada Gaming Win Rebounds In April Due To Strength In Clark County

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s casinos returned to their winning ways in April, posting a statewide total win of $855.7 million for a 6.2 percent gain over April 2011, the Gaming Control Board reported today.

Clark County overall was up 8.9 percent in April to $743.7 million while the rest of the state did not fare as well. Washoe County was down 15.5 percent, South Lake Tahoe was down 4.4 percent and Elko County was down 2.3 percent.

One reason for the positive overall report was technical in nature, however. Because March ended on a Saturday, some of the slot machine revenue from that day did not get tallied until the following month, skewing the April totals.

But the win, coming after a double-digit decline in March, is the sixth positive month out of the past seven and is welcome news, said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the control board.

“March was kind of a bump in the road,” he said. “(We) got back on track this month. Next month might be a little bit different, we’ve got a really tough comp for May.”

For the fiscal year from July 1, 2011 to April 30, statewide gaming win is up 2.5 percent.

The win comes even as the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority today reported a slight decline in visitor volume in April, the first in more than two years. Volume fell by 0.9 percent to 3,324,459.

All major Clark County markets posted gains in April, including the Strip, up 7.5 percent; downtown Las Vegas, up a strong 25 percent; and North Las Vegas, up an impressive 42.3 percent.

North Las Vegas was affected by the additional slot revenue counted from March, while downtown Las Vegas was up due in part to the reopening of the Plaza Hotel and Casino after an extensive renovation.

Downtown Las Vegas is up 4.5 percent fiscal year to date, a positive sign for a market that has not had a positive fiscal year since 2005, Lawton said.

Downtown Las Vegas. / Photo: John Phelan via Wikimedia Commons.

The Strip win came despite a modest 2.9 percent gain on table games. Baccarat was up nearly 16 percent to $65.7 million, but twenty-one was down 5.2 percent to $58.8 million. The Strip did much better with slot machine revenues, which were up 12.1 percent to $249 million.

Again, the extra revenue reported from March was a factor in the Strip slot revenue number.

Lawton said when a monthly report has such a reporting anomaly it is better to look at the fiscal year overall. The combined Las Vegas local markets, for example, are up 5.1 percent for the calendar year to date, he said.

“So they are definitely moving in the right direction,” Lawton said.

May will be a tougher month for the industry to post a win, due in part to the big gains posted in May 2011 when both the statewide and Strip wins were up by double digits, he said.

But there were some big events in Las Vegas in May, so, “you never know,” he said.

“We’ll take the slot anomaly and we’ll deal with it next month,” Lawton said.

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Audio clips:

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the control board, says the state got back on track in April:

061212Lawton1 :23 month, next month.”

Lawton says numbers over the past several months are showing positive signs:

061212Lawton2 :22 the right direction.”