Six-month NV gaming analysis

Each month, there’s a lot of sound and fury about what the results released by the Gaming Control Board really mean. And each month, when asked what I thought, I used to look at the numbers, compare them with the previous year’s, and speak.

Last year I decided to shift perspective a little by adding more historical depth. With monthly reports from 2004 onward freely available, I figured it was lazy not to use them. So I started comparing the recently released number for February 2011 with not just February 2010, but every February from 2004 to 2011.

This let me see the overall pattern a lot better, and even though it involves some work, I think it’s worth it, because it provides some more context for the numbers.

I think this is important because both investors and industry leaders make decisions partially based on the numbers, and I think that the more people understand about them, the better decisions they’ll make. It might not be able to predict the future, but the historical perspective will undoubtedly give people a much better grasp on the present.

For a while now, I’ve been playing around with another way to contextualize the numbers. Around the third quarter of last year I started putting out a “Year to Date” report that including data from the start of the calendar year. But early in the year, that’s not much value, and late in the year it’s just too much data that’s good for guessing what the year-end totals will be, but not necessarily telling you which direction the industry’s heading in at the moment.

So to provide that, I’ve put together a new report: Nevada Gaming Statistics: The Last Six Months. Here’s the explanation and the executive summary for the inaugural edition:

This report compares results for the past six months in five reporting areas. With this perspective, the current direction of a variety of sectors in the state’s gaming market should be clear. In addition to statistics for overall, slot, and table revenues, it also includes year?to?year changes in each of those categories and slot hold, an important measure of value returned to gamblers.

Executive Summary

Statewide, there have been four consecutive months of revenue declines. Since September, slot and table numbers have increased in tandem only once, which doesn’t bode well for the overall growth potential of the statewide industry. Slot hold has fluctuated, but largely remained over 6 percent, with no clear trend.

The Las Vegas Strip, saw a similar pattern as the state as a whole, which is fitting since it is responsible for about 55% of all gaming revenues for the state. Slot hold has averaged above 7%, though the Oct/Nov and Dec/Jan pairings suggest that, in both October and December, slot win was initially under?reported. As with Statewide, when slots have been strong, tables have been weak, and vice versa.

Downtown Las Vegas has seen revenue declines in four of the past six months, though it had a better January than much of the state. Table revenues have had three positive months, while slots have only had two. Slot hold has bounced around but generally remained over 6%.

The Boulder Strip has had three months of gains and three months of losses, and in general seems to be stuck in neutral. Excepting the statistical anomalies for Oct/Nov and Dec/Jan, slot hold seems to be remaining under 5%.

Washoe County performed the worst out of any of the reporting areas looked at here: it had five months of decline, and two straight months of declines in both slot and table games. Very little seems to be going right in Washoe County casinos. The slot hold has been the consistently lowest of the markets considered in this report; apparently this has not attracted great numbers of gamblers.

Nevada Gaming Statistics: The Last Six Months

I hope some of you find some value in it; if you have any questions, comments, or requests for other ways of analyzing the data that’s out there, please let me know.

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