Gaming revenue collapsing in many states. but not Nevada


It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that bling. Competing with Vegas is not easy. Half of the casinos in Atlantic City have closed in the past few years. Gaming revenue in Connecticut is cratering, leaving the legislature wondering how they will make up the shortfall. They got addicted to that extra money. Now it’s vanishing.

The easy answer: There is huge competition from growing numbers of slot machines and casinos everywhere.

“A gambler is a gambler, and it’s about convenience. If someone can drive 20 minutes instead of two hours, they’re going to drive for 20 minutes. For the average gambler, it’s about convenience and location. If you’re just the average Joe who wants to spend $20 or $40, you don’t care about a destination resort. They’re not planning to stay over at the hotel,” says Stephen Dargan, chair of the CT legislative committee overseeing gaming.

That’s part of it, sure. However, that doesn’t explain why Vegas gaming income showed a moderate improvement in the past six months while other gaming areas in the US are having big problems. People come to Vegas for the experience, for the glitz, for the entertainment. Britney is now in residence in Vegas. Regardless of what you think about her music, no other entertainment venue in the US can get performers of her stature booked for months in advance.

Vegas also caters to the really high rollers, specifically in baccarat. (So does Macau, which now has 6x the gaming revenue of Vegas.)

The Las Vegas Strip is performing better for the period (+3.17%) than the state as a whole, but it has
more extreme variations in its monthly results, thanks to an increased reliance on high-end baccarat
play. With slot win down (-2.36%), game win (+8.18%) has sustained the area. This speaks to the growing importance of table games for Nevada casinos.

So whether you play the nickel slots or drop $10 million in baccarat, as has happened, Vegas has a place for you. You can stay at a $30 a night hotel or get comped into a palatial suite. Plus, and this is what really fascinates me about Vegas, it’ll reinvent itself overnight if need be, which is one big reason why it is still way in the lead for US gaming with no one else even close. There’s a lesson in there for business and entrepreneurs.