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Nevada Gaming Revenue Declines In March, Leading To Concern

Nevada gaming executives have had a couple of months of prosperity when it comes to the revenue at Las Vegas casinos. In March, that prosperity came to a screeching halt when the figures suddenly plummeted from the same period the year before.

In March, revenue was down 10.8% at Nevada casinos. The $854.6 million won at casinos was way off the revenue from the same period the year before, but executives understood why the numbers were down across the board.

In March of 2011, a major convention was held in Nevada that brought thousands of gamblers through the casino doors, and cause an increase in revenue that was unexpected. With the convention not being held this year at the same time, revenue was expected to drop, leaving casinos to search for ways to bring customers back.

We view today's March results as mixed," said Bill Lerner, of Union Gaming. "While high-end play was clearly weak after adjusting for hold, the 'mass market' volume was better."

Lerner was referring to the baccarat figures in March. Baccarat players lost $38.8 million in March, down over 50 percent from March 2011. That large of a decrease comes from several factors, including the exploding Asian gaming market.

"Macau has blown past Nevada in terms of gaming revenue, and it is the high-roller Asian gamblers that is driving Macau's success," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "Many Asian gamblers are now choosing to stay closer to home, and with the Asian population accounting for much of the baccarat business around the world, it is Nevada casinos that are suffering from the new trend."

It is not all bad news for US gaming companies. Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and MGM all have properties in Macau, meaning they may be losing the high roller gamblers in Vegas, but they are still winning that gambling revenue at their Macau casinos.

On the Las Vegas Strip, revenue was down 14.9% in March, at $448.6 million.

The ConExpo convention brought almost 150,000 visitors to Nevada last March. Revenue during that month was $958.7 million, which represented a 5.1% increase from the same period in 2010.

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