Baccarat Helps Keep Las Vegas Strip Casino Revenues in the Acceptable Level
The two-week long celebration for the Chinese New Year is in one of the highly anticipated time on the Las Vegas Strip. But for casino gaming operators, a five month stretch at the end of 2009 seemed like a big game of baccarat.
Last year, statewide and gaming revenues on the Las Vegas Strip took their biggest single-year drop since the state of Nevada began keeping gaming record fifty-five years ago.
But without the figures from the game of baccarat, the casino gaming industry would have experienced a bigger decline in their gaming earnings. On the Strip, where baccarat accounts for ninety-nine percent of Nevada's total baccarat results, gaming revenues from the game were more than $970 million in 2009, an improvement of 26.5% compared with 2008.
That result was the single-biggest one-year casino win total ever posted for the game of baccarat on the Strip, surpassing the $911.3 million won in 2007. Baccarat players, an estimated ninety percent of who traveled from Asia, wagered a total of $8.6 billion on the game, twenty percent more compared in 2008.
Overall, the Strip's 2009 gambling revenues of $5.55 billion dropped by 9.4% from 2008. The total amount wagered on casino table games, $22.8 billion, was 2.6% lower than 2008. Gambling Control Board Tax and License Division Chief Frank Streshley said on February 26th, 2010 that Las Vegas Strip gambling revenues would have dropped by 14.5% for the year without the game of baccarat's support.
Streshley added that it was not until August 2009 that the baccarat numbers started to go upwards. Several months, including December 2009, had one hundred percent upswing in baccarat profits compared with their corresponding months.
Streshley credited the improvement to Asian high-rollers traveling to Las Vegas to enjoy the game. Casino operators agree with Streshley's assessment, saying that the bankrolls of Asian gamblers helped keep Las Vegas afloat by the end of 2009.
Special events like New Year's Eve celebration, boxing championship and the opening of the MGM Mirage-owned CityCenter gave high-roller play a huge boost. Rob Goldstein, the president of The Venetian and Palazzo resorts for Las Vegas Sands Corporation said that the Asian economy is remarkably healthy and there is a segment of the economy that wants to travel to Las Vegas and enjoy.
MGM Mirage Chief Marketing Officer Bill Hornbuckle said that dropping value of the US dollar, together with the growing Asian economy, have created a growing gambling market outside of Las Vegas.
Both MGM Mirage and Las Vegas Sands, together with Wynn Resorts Limited, manage casinos in Macau, which has helped solidify a connection with the Las Vegas Strip. Hornbuckle believes that Macau helped the Las Vegas Strip stay strong even during the worst part of the economic crisis.
Because of the amount of money wagered on the game, baccarat carries a significant portion of the Las Vegas Strip's win and handle, In 2010, baccarat accounted for more than thirty-five percent of the total gaming revenues of the Strip, up from 26% last year and 27% in 2007 and 2006.
Scott Jensen, a casino shift manager and executive director of the 13,000 square foot baccarat salon of the MGM Grand, said that players dictate the style of play and pace of baccarat, which is decided by the bankroll of the player.
Gamers inside the baccarat room of the MGM Grand can wager between $20,000 and $200,000 a hand on baccarat depending on their credit line or what has been placed in the cashier's cage. Unlike the game of blackjack, baccarat has not set formula for how many card hands should be given in an hour.
Robbie Ling, who has been a baccarat dealer at the MGM Grand for sixteen years, said that she has seen a baccarat player go through an eight-deck baccarat shoe in anywhere eighteen minutes to 3 ½ hours.
Usually, players will request certain baccarat dealers because they believe that they will have a good run with that group of baccarat dealers. However, the game of baccarat does not seem to hold the interest of an American gambler.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010