LAS VEGAS -- Analysts expected Strip casinos to rebound following a lackluster October.
But not to the extent of a 22.6 percent gaming revenue increase.
Thanks to a 94 percent jump in baccarat results and a 53.5 percent hike in overall table game figures, Strip casinos paced Nevada’s second-largest gaming revenue increase of 2013 during November.
The Nevada State Gaming Control Board Gaming Commission said Monday casinos statewide collected $875.9 million from gamblers during November, which was 11.9 percent more than the $782.7 million collected in November 2012. The figure marked the third monthly increase over the past four months.
On the Strip, gaming revenues hit $529.4 million because of table games.
Strip baccarat revenues were $129 million and table game revenues, excluding baccarat were $174.7 million. Baccarat wagering was up 90.5 percent compared with a year ago. Even Strip sports books contributed to November’s totals, collecting $14.3 million in revenues compared with a loss of $400,000 a year ago.
“November’s Strip strength was expected given commentary from companies, but not to this degree,” Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon told investors.
The year’s largest increases were recorded in February, mainly because of the lucrative Chinese New Year celebration. Statewide revenues increased 15.1 percent while the Strip was up 31.2 percent.
November featured an Ultimate Fighting Championship card at the MGM Grand Las Vegas and Strip casinos also benefited from a calendar that included an extra Saturday in the month, compared with November 2012.
Also, the weeklong 140,000-attendee Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week convention took place during just November, rather than being spread between October and November as it was in 2012.
Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Cameron McKnight told investors Strip casino companies catering to international business, including Wynn Resorts Ltd., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International, benefited during November.
“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 nonbaccarat mass volumes down 9.4 percent,” McKnight said.
Through the first 11 months of 2013, statewide gaming revenues are up 1.9 percent and Strip gaming revenues are up 3.9 percent.
“Overall, the Las Vegas Strip numbers were above our expectations,” Union Gaming Group Managing Director Bill Lerner said.
The Strip’s results didn’t trickle down into the locals market. Gaming revenues fell 13.6 percent in Laughlin and 13.3 percent in North Las Vegas. On the Boulder Strip, which includes Henderson, gaming revenues fell 8.8 percent. Downtown gaming revenues fell 1 percent.
A portion of the declines in several markets could be attributed to slot machine revenue collections, some of which fell into October.
Gaming revenue for Clark County as a whole increased 12.7 percent.
Union Gaming Group analysts have been trying to decipher Nevada’s online poker results. The Gaming Control Board won’t break out the figures until three websites are operating. Now, there are two — ultimatepoker.com and wsop.com.
Lerner told investors online poker figures are included with card games in Balance of Clark County, which was up 22.5 percent to $1.6 million. He said the numbers imply that online poker was roughly $300,000 in gaming revenue during November.
“We believe this is notable given that there haven’t been many tangible financial results yet from online gaming,” Lerner said. “Payment processing issues are likely still weighing on results given that many credit card companies block any and all transactions for online gaming.”
He said New Jersey, which launched online gaming at the end of November, will post its first revenue figures on Jan. 14.
Nevada collected almost $50 million in gaming taxes through Dec. 26, based on November’s gaming revenue total, a 9.35 percent gain from a year earlier.
For the first six months of the fiscal year, gaming tax collections are up less than 1 percent.
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