It’s been awhile since Las Vegas could really post any very positive news about revenues, but 2013 appears to have been a watershed year financially for Sin City. Figures posted end-of-year by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show a whopping 22.6 percent spike in gaming revenues for the month of November, following a somewhat flat October, a reality that promises to show excellent year-end overall numbers once compiled.
Second Best of the Year
Turns out November was the second best of the year for Las Vegas Strip properties. Baccarat took home the gold – literally – with a 94 percent hike, while table games also pulled their weight with a 53.5 percent jump, compared to 2012. Certainly no one is ripping out slot machines, but it appears that old-school gambling is the moneymaker these days in the City of Neon.
Statewide, the picture was also a positive one. Across Nevada, casinos took in $875.9 million in November, a bump of 11.9 percent compared to the year prior. And even more encouraging, it was the third monthly hike during the past four months.
Las Vegas’ uber-successful marketing campaign of being the coolest, hippest, swag-est place to be on earth seems to be working when it comes to gambling as well; the Strip brought in $529.4 million in November overall, largely from table games, which includes popular classics such as craps, blackjack, roulette, poker and, of course, baccarat – a particularly popular staple with the all-important Asian high-roller quotient.
Whale of a November
Apparently, Las Vegas’ Asian whale and junket brokers are earning their keep; baccarat wagering was up 90.5 percent versus 2012’s numbers in November. Broken out separately – because it’s such a high-ticket and lucrative game for the house – were baccarat intakes, which hit $129 million. Table games overall brought in $174.7 million, minus baccarat.
“We believe these results bode positively for larger Strip operators with significant baccarat volumes, but note the core Las Vegas mass market remains soft with non-baccarat mass volumes down 9.4 percent,” said Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Cameron McKnight.
International visitors were also responsible for the upswing, McKnight told investors. He added that Wynn Resorts Ltd., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International all saw the best of that angle in November.
November’s sports book figures were no slouch either as the holidays approached, with a $14.3 million intake – compared to a loss of $400,000 during the same time last year.
Also boosting the bottom line in November on the Strip: an Ultimate Fighting Championship event, and one extra Saturday on the calendar, compared to 2012. A move into the heart of the month by the 140,000-attendee Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week convention – versus bridging October/November the year before – also made a significant difference in the month’s tallies.
“November’s Strip strength was expected, given commentary from companies, but not to this degree,” noted Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon while addressing investors.
Although November was a kingpin month for Sin City, it was February 2013 – the month that encompasses the very lucrative Chinese New Year – that brought in the most revenues for Las Vegas, with a 31.2 percent jump on the Strip alone. Statewide in Nevada, February saw a 15.1 percent increase in gaming revenues when compared to 2012.