Nevada Casinos Lose Millions, But Many Consider It A Banner Year

Posted on: January 13, 2015, 09:00h. 

Last updated on: January 13, 2015, 12:27h.

Major Nevada casinos losses 2014
Las Vegas Strip casinos are continuing to benefit from record revenues brought in by hotels, restaurants and retail shopping centers. (Image:

Nevada’s major casinos lost a total of $743.7 million in the 2014 fiscal year, marking the sixth straight year that such venues posted an annual loss.

Yet it’s still a relatively good sign for these gambling halls, as those same casinos lost more than $1.3 billion in the 2013 fiscal year, meaning that losses were cut in half in 2014.

Those figures come from the 2014 Nevada Gaming Abstract, which was published on Friday.

By major casinos, we’re talking about those that generated more than $1 million in gaming revenue, which accounted for 270 casinos this year, up from 263 the year before.

In total, those venues brought in about $23.9 billion over the most recent fiscal year.

Casino Losses Smallest Since 2009

Obviously, these casinos would rather be making money than showing losses year after year.

But with losses piling up every year since 2009, when the post-recession economy killed casino revenue, posting the smallest loss over that period is still a moral victory if nothing else.

It also suggests that major casinos could start showing a profit again in the very near future.

One of the other major trends in the casino industry has been a shift away from gambling.

While that might seem a little strange to those who think of casinos only in terms of slots and blackjack, this is nothing new, as gaming has accounted for less than half of all casino revenue in Nevada for 10 years in a row now.

On the Las Vegas Strip, this trend goes back all the way to 1998.

There’s no sign of the increasing reliance on non-gaming revenue ending any time soon, either.

The percentage of revenue generated by gaming has been trending downward consistently on the strip for decades, with non-gaming sources now accounting for well over 60 percent of revenues.

Non-Gaming Revenues Break Records for Vegas Strip

In 2014, those non-gaming sectors broke records for the Las Vegas Strip.

The resorts there broke records for the amount they brought in from hotel rooms, food, beverages and other areas like retail outlets and nightclubs.

That’s become necessary for the resorts there to survive, as gaming revenues still haven’t recovered to their 2007 peak. They are getting closer, though: gaming was up to nearly $6 billion in 2014, a 4.2 percent increase over the previous year and just 7.7 percent off of the all-time high.

Most of that gaming revenue comes right from the casino floors. Just over 48 percent comes from pit games, including keno and bingo.

Just under 48 percent comes from slot machines and other coin-based games. Sports wagering and poker accounted for under two percent each (including online poker income), with horse racing betting bringing in about 0.5 percent.

The story in Nevada contrasts with that of Macau, which saw revenues plummet in 2014.

In fact, it’s possible that Las Vegas casinos saw some benefit from Macau’s slowdown, as gamblers who wanted to avoid the Chinese crackdown on money flowing into Macau may have chosen Strip casinos as an alternative destination for their gambling trips.

The numbers in the Gaming Abstract are different and more comprehensive than those released in the monthly gaming revenue reports, as they also incorporate every dollar spent by customers at hotels and resorts attached to the gambling floors.

The net income reported accounts for the amount kept by casinos after most expenses have been paid, but do not considerer federal income taxes or “extraordinary expenses.”