Nevada reports decline in June gambling revenue

New York (AP) — Gambling revenue dipped 1.1 percent for the state of Nevada in the month of June as revenue collected by the largest casinos on the Las Vegas Strip fell, according to data released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Monday.

Nevada’s gambling licensees reported a total „gaming win“ of USD 949.3 million for the month of June, a 1.1 percent decline from USD 960 in June 2007. The results were depressed by a 3 percent shortfall in gambling revenue on the key Las Vegas Strip, which totaled USD 486.4 million.

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Dennis Forst said the results were „satisfactory,“ given that there was one fewer weekend day in the period this year. He noted, however, that June 2008 may have gotten a boost from extra slot revenue. May 2008 ended on a Saturday, when casinos rarely count the cash in its slot machines, he said.

Forst also noted that revenue dropped 6.6 percent to USD 430 million for the 23 major casinos on the Las Vegas Strip with annualized gambling win of more than USD 72 million each. On the other hand, he said the Las Vegas locals market jumped 14 percent and the downtown market grew 10 percent, both slightly better than expected.

Forst noted that most other states reported June data a month ago with average results down 1.8 percent.

Nevada collected USD 52.1 million in percentage fees during July 2008, based on taxable revenue generated in June 2008. That represents an 8.4 percent increase over fees collected last year.

July is expected to be more difficult month, Forst said. Not only do Las Vegas Strip casino operators face tough comparisons to last year, when „gambling win“ jumped 14 percent, but July 2007 had one more weekend day. Also, fuel prices remained high this July, which further drove down consumer confidence.

Forst predicted declines around the mid single-digit percentage range in overall Las Vegas Strip gaming wins for 2008.