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High-End Baccarat Game Play Helps Nevada Gaming Results for March 2010

It was back to where it use to be for casino facilities in Nevada in March 2010-or what seems to be the new norm. Gambling revenues dropped by less than one percent during the month after February's double-digit improvement, the first such increase in almost three years.

On the Las Vegas Strip, gambling revenues improved by 2.4%, the second straight monthly improvement for the gaming market. As in past months, casino results in the Strip were supported by y considerable boost from high-end play.

The Gaming Control Board released the results on May 14th, 2010 with predictions that casino facilities in Nevada may see similar improvement over the next few months as the economy slowly recovers and gamers return to the Strip.

Frank Streshley, the chief of the Gaming Control Board's tax and licensing division, said that they are entering a time where the gaming market relies more tourists and conventions and not on special events. Streshley said that they do not see any reasons for major improvements or drops compared with the results last year.

State casino operators earned $912.2 million dollars during March 2010, a drop of 0.66% compared with $918.2 million dollars collected from gamers in March 2009. On the strip in March 2010, casino facilities earned $467.1 million dollars from gamers, a 2.4% improvement compared with the $456.1 million dollars collected from gamers in the same period last year.

In February 2010, Strip casino facilities were pushed by high-end baccarat gamers that are in town for the Chinese New Year celebrations and Super Bowl weekend. These events help the Las Vegas Strip to a substantial 32.9% improvement in gambling revenues, the biggest single-month improvement in more than a decade.

The month of March did not possess the volume of baccarat game play in February, but the money wagered by players was still enough to boost the Strip results. Gamblers wagered $625.5 million dollars on the game, up by 35% from a year ago, and casino facilities collected $52.7 million dollars, an improvement of fifty-nine percent.

Streshley said that without the game of baccarat, state gaming revenues would have dropped by three percent. JP Morgan gambling analyst Joe Greff said that baccarat results in March marked the eleventh consecutive month of year-by-year improvement in overall baccarat win. But analysts said that they are still expecting an excellent month. Streshley said that for the first three months of 2010, gambling revenues are up by three percent all over the state and 9.8% on the Strip.

He said that it is an acceptable start for him. He added that they are still back to where they were a few years back but the year has begun nicely for the market. Jacob Oberman, who keeps an eye on the gaming industry for real estate group CB Richard Ellis, said that international players, which provide much of the VIP play like in baccarat, will be the main driver of growth in the Strip.

Oberman said that in the short term, Las Vegas could face some difficulties in this regard. Over the last few years, the proportion of revenue and visitation from overseas gamers has been improving. The increase is due to rapidly growing Asian economies, which have improved at an astonishing rate compared with the economy of the US and the Canadian dollars and euro that have strengthened against the U.S. dollars, improving the spending capability of those visitors.

Clark County saw gambling revenues drop by 0.89% in March 2010. Laughlin, which reported a 2.47% improvement in March gambling revenues, was the sole Clark County area other than the Las Vegas Strip that showed a monthly improvement. The increased helped erase the twenty-seven straight months of dropping revenues of Laughlin.

Streshley said that the gaming results of Laughlin were surprising because the gaming market is now competing for players with Las Vegas because of the low rates of hotel rooms. Downtown casino gaming revenues were off by 10.62% in March while casinos in North Las Vegas saw an 11.75% improvement gaming revenue drop.

Nevada also saw an excellent month for basketball betting, due to the NCAA basketball championship. Sports books earned $264.1 million dollars in basketball bets during the month, which includes games in the NBA.

The result was a record for the month. Overall casino win was $19.9 million dollars. Streshley said that sports book operators believe that March Madness gets larger each year. He said that what is interesting about this development is that it brings gamers to the area during midweek. State gaming tax revenues improved by 6.85% in March 2010, helped by the earnings from high-end play in February 2010.

Nevada casinos collected $79.9 million dollars during the month, up from the $74.8 million dollars in the same period in 2009. For the first ten months of the fiscal year, Nevada has earned $532.9 million dollars in gambling revenues, down by 3.58% for the same ten months in the previous fiscal year.


Sunday, July 25, 2010
Reported by Kate Foster

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