weather icon Partly Cloudy

Was 2019 a good year for Nevada casinos? The numbers tell the tale

Was 2019 a good year for Nevada casinos?

New gaming win numbers from the state Gaming Control Board and visitation data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority can help answer that question — and many others on the minds of analysts.

There are a lot of takeaways from the two reports.

Were Nevada sportsbooks hurt by the arrival of nationwide, legalized sports wagering?

The state’s approximately 200 books scored a record handle of $5.3 billion and a record win of $329.1 million — the 10th straight year of volume increases. It seems nationwide legalization has only fueled more interest in betting here — just as numerous book executives expected.

What’s going on with baccarat, and should we be worried?

Baccarat drop of $835.3 million was down $339.6 million, or 28.9 percent, from 2018. Baccarat win only recorded four monthly increases in the 2019 calendar year, and volume only rose twice.

Here’s the really bad news for baccarat: 2020 is off to a horrendous start because of travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in China. Many Asian high rollers aren’t playing here because they aren’t traveling here.

We should learn more when the Gaming Control Board releases January and February gaming numbers and when Wynn and MGM report earnings in the next two weeks.

Slot machines continue to generate more win for casinos than table games, and coin-in for slots increased in every Southern Nevada market. Statewide, players dropped nearly $115 billion into slot machines, a 2.1 percent increase from 2018, and played $29.6 billion on tables, a 5.3 percent decrease.

Clark County mirrored statewide trends, but the figures for downtown Las Vegas and the Strip are veering in different directions. Coin-in for slots on the Strip was $42.2 billion, up 3.6 percent (highest in Clark County), and downtown coin-in was $6 billion, up 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, table games drop on the Strip was $22.3 billion, down 8.4 percent from 2018 (second-biggest decline in the state), while downtown’s was $2.1 billion, up 14.5 percent (second-largest increase in the state).

Why is downtown Las Vegas on such a roll?

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board, said traffic is being driven downtown by sports betting, especially through mobile wagering. The entry of Circa Sports into the market last summer is partially responsible for the boost, and when the sportsbook at the new Circa resort opens in December, it could drive even more traffic with fans wanting to see what Derek Stevens is calling the world’s largest sportsbook.

Is it my imagination or are slot machines getting tighter?

If you somehow detected slot machines were tighter this past year, you’re probably right. The casino slot win percentage statewide increased 0.05 of a percentage point, from 6.85 percent in 2018 to 6.9 percent last year.

In the big picture, it’s an undetectable difference.

But if you’re into that type of thing, the Strip slot win percentage moved from 8.12 percent to 8.16 percent, and downtown it went from 7.66 percent to 7.78 percent. Maybe slot players are migrating to the Boulder Strip, where slot win percentage moved in favor of the player, from 5.81 percent to 5.78 percent.

On table games, the statewide casino win percentage was up 0.38 points to 13.84 percent. On the Strip, it moved from 13.46 percent in 2018 to 14.09 percent last year. Downtown players benefited, with table win moving 0.61 points from 11.04 percent in 2018 to 10.43 percent last year.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. The MSG Sphere is a project by Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Pahrump Valley Times Interim Editor Jeffrey Meehan contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Health Expert: Spread of the Coronavirus not as virulent in the US

The spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 69,000 people globally and led to more than 1,600 deaths, may not be as impactful in the U.S. as it has been in China, where the virus is thought to have originated. Over a dozen people have tested positive in the U.S. as of mid-February, according to the World Health Organization.

Hearts for the homeless

Ashlin Banning, just 8 years old, is trying her best to make a difference with the homeless here in the valley.

Nevada state employee harassment claims increase 50%

Despite a task force created to address the problem of workplace sexual harassment, the number of claims filed by state employees has increased by more than 50 percent.

Nevada Census grants available to fund materials, outreach

The Nevada Complete Count Committee is now rolling out its 2020 census administrative support and partnership grant applications, aimed at helping provide cash to organizations and entities working on the 2020 census.

Troublesome tumbleweeds create chaos

Pahrump resident Betty Robison was blown away when she peered out the window of her East Mt. Charleston Drive home last week.

In Season: Start seeds now for a spring and summer harvest

This is an exciting time of year for the vegetable gardener. Seeds started over the next few weeks will be providing you with a bounty in just a few short months. Seed starting is easier than you may think if you follow a few simple steps.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Wednesday, Feb. 12 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $8 million.

Nevada panel approves more money to protect governor

The Interim Finance Committee approved an additional $15,500 to cover additional costs related to protecting Gov. Steve Sisolak, who travels more frequently than his predecessor.