Las Vegas Strip Revenues Fall in October, Mandalay Bay Tragedy Continues to Impact Casinos

Posted on: December 1, 2017, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: December 1, 2017, 03:04h.

The Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1 led to a decrease in gambling revenue last month, as Strip casinos saw their wins lowered by six percent. The lower intake was anticipated following the Mandalay Bay shooting that slaughtered 58 country music concert attendees.

Las Vegas shooting Strip win
Visitors, particularly from Asia, remained wary of coming to Las Vegas after Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and himself on October 1. The predicted cancellations and lower bookings impacted overall revenues for the month. (Image: Mark Ralston/Getty)

Strong performances off the Strip, including a 10 percent jump in downtown Las Vegas, helped the Silver State’s gambling industry come out flat, rather than in the red, for the month. Total gaming win came in at $988.7 million, a negligible 0.27 percent gain.

North Las Vegas more than held its own, with a revenue surge of almost 12 percent to $27.1 million. The area on Boulder Highway referred to as the Boulder Strip by the Nevada Gaming Commission played the biggest role in offsetting losses, however, with a nearly $78 million month, a 17 percent year-over-year jump.

Sportsbooks missed the mark in October, with oddsmakers winning about $11 million less last month than they did a year ago. The decrease was due to a 5.6 percent win on wagers, as compared to over eight percent in October 2016.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also announced that visitor volume fell 4.2 percent in October 2017. That’s despite convention attendance jumping 36 percent, and McCarran International having its best month ever, a seeming contradiction that the LVCVA did not explain.

High Impact

Financially speaking, Strip casinos seeing a six percent loss in the 30 days after October 1 might be considered the best-case scenario, given what happened and the global coverage of the tragedy.

MGM Resorts, parent company to Mandalay Bay where the perpetrator opened fire on Route 91 Harvest music festival attendees below, warned investors during its third quarter conference call to be prepared for a down final three months.

MGM CEO Jim Murren said that’s partly due to the fallout of the shooting, but also because the company is spending $450 million to transform the Monte Carlo into two distinct properties. The executive explained that the renovation is disrupting current business at the resort.

Tropicana, the closest non-MGM property to the massacre site, said cancellations jumped 35 percent in the immediate days after the attack, though almost all were in the leisure segment. MGM also confirmed an uptick in cancellations, but no conventions or large events altered their plans.

MGM and Caesars additionally affirmed that a noticeable drop in traffic from Asia occurred after the shooting. Caesars CEO Mark Frissora opined late last month that the dip in high roller play from Asia could last as long as three to four months, as many countries there believe that’s a respectable mourning period for such a horrific event.

Revenue in Perspective

October was Nevada’s worst monthly year-over-year percentage performance in 2017, and just the third time it posted a decline this year.

But few gaming analysts worry about a single monthly revenue report. Too many variables dictate a 30-day performance, including the total number of weekend days, holidays, and even the weather.

A more reliable picture is the three-month reporting period. Nevada’s gaming industry as a whole is up six percent between August through October, and 2.5 percent over the last 12 months. The Strip is also up six percent over the last three months, and 1.7 percent over the last 12.