After a disastrous May the release of the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s report on revenues in June has come as a ray of sunlight, despite still showing a marginal downturn. A worrying slide has been taking place in Las Vegas over the last few months, with gambling revenues in May down 15% year-on-year. The most likely culprit for the sudden change in fortunes is the World Series of Poker, which took place over all of June and the beginning of July.
The Strip, the hub of gambling activity in Las Vegas, recorded losses of 3% compared to last June. Although still a downturn it comprises a vast improvement over last month’s slump of over 16%. Gambling proprietors off The Strip will have more cause for celebrating, with areas such as Downtown posting decent increases when compared with the previous year. Results for the whole of Nevada were similarly curtailed, with losses of 15% in the month of May being cut to only 1.1% for June.
This report marks the end of the fiscal year, and also brings an end to The Strip’s first fiscal year decline for six years. Businesses all over America have been struggling to cope with the slowdown of the market and against such a gloomy economic backdrop the news that gaming revenues were only down 1.87% for Las Vegas over the whole year seems less of a cause for concern. The Strip, which has suffered most over the last few months, saw only a 1.5% drop over the whole year.
Positive noises have been emanating from some economists who note that there was one less weekend day in June compared to a year ago. When you factor in that a whole day of prime time gambling has been missed out on June’s decreases seem a little less worrying. Nevada as a whole also appears to be ahead of its fellow states for the month. Most states have already submitted their financial reports and losses across the country come in at an average of 1.8%, above Nevada’s 1.1%.
Other analysts are, however, less enthusiastic. Astute observers have noticed that the month of May ended on a Saturday, which means that the slot machine take for the last week of that month would have been included in June’s figures when the money was counted on Sunday. Although this anomaly may have resulted in the June numbers seeming unduly positive it is worth noting that any money taken away from June must be added to May, making those figures seem less dire than they first appeared.
It seems clear that the main boost to the Vegas economy in June was the World Series. The thousands upon thousands of people that flock to Vegas to experience poker’s centerpiece will have provided a much needed shot in the arm to casinos on and around The Strip. Unfortunately the WSOP concluded in early July and it seems unlikely that the influx of gamblers will have been sustained much longer than that. A glimmer of hope may come in the news that gas prices have finally started to fall. The decreased cost of long road trips may tempt in Americans who had been putting of the journey due to the current economic climate. Even with this potential help there still seem to be a tough few months ahead for the world’s poker capitol.