No Leap for Nevada gaming win in February

No Leap for Nevada gaming win in February

Friday, March 31, 2017
Fall caused by Chinese New Year and 2015 leap year

A tough calendar comparison period with last year was behind the 4.5 percent decline in gambling revenues in Nevada in February as the timing of the Chinese New Year and the leap year factor in 2015 saw gaming win drop down to $945.6m.

Hardest hit in February was the Las Vegas Strip which, according to the figures from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, was down 5 percent. In the quarter-to-date, though, analysts at Union Gaming point out that gaming win is up 4.4 percent after January has enjoyed a 12 percent year-on-year climb.

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst at the NGCB, said the February was always going to t be a difficult comparator period. “Last year the state was up 8.1 percent in February and the Strip was up 7.3 percent. First of all, last year was a leap year and there was an extra day. That accounted for a little over 3 percent of the difference.

“Also, Chinese New Year was entirely in February in 2016. In 2017, it occurred mostly in January but with some spillover to February. So definitely, the entire impact of that holiday was in February last year.”

In particular, with slots the decline of 4.6 percent can be attributed almost wholly to the loss of a single day this year over last. But the Union Gaming team noted that slots handle was up nearly 2 percent in February after being flat in January.

The table win was also down 4.6 percent, driven largely by the near 20 percent fall in baccarat gaming win. Given the game’s popularity with Chinese players, that decline can be attributed to the Chinese New Year factor.

John DeCree at Union Gaming noted that in the quarter-to-date, baccarat volume is up 7.7 percent and the gaming win figure is up over 12 percent. “Comparisons for baccarat remain easy, and it’s encouraging to see some positive momentum; however, we would be cautious to call a recovery just yet.”

In terms of the locals market, Union Gaming said the quarter-to-date figures with gaming win up 3.7 percent, mean t they were encouraged. Slot handle in February was up 0.3 percent, a positive sign considering the month had one less day than the prior year. Our channel checks also indicate the sportsbooks finally began to normalize in February and March after a rough fourth quarter.”

According to data published earlier in March, Nevada sportsbook also endured a tough January particularly with regard to NFL where they lost $8.25m. It made January the second-worst month for football betting ever in the state, behind the $11.3m loss in 2005.

Totally Gaming says: All in all, the Nevada casinos will be happy with the way the year has started out with the quarter-to-date numbers pointing to a steady recovery in revenues. The stable slots situation will likely be particularly encouraging.

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