Things just keep getting better for Nevada and Las Vegas as they had their best month ever in history. They can thank the Chinese New Year for that and all the Baccarat gambling that bumped up the financial needle to record highs. This really proves that the US economy has made a comeback as statewide the casinos won nearly $1.1 billion in February. That’s up $141 million from the same time last year and the biggest improvement since December 2007. Thanks to all the gaming the resorts on the Vegas strip pulled in winnings of $696.1 million, which makes it an increase of 31% or $165.4 million from a year ago.
By the looks of it, it was the Baccarat games that pulled in all the extra cash to give them the record numbers.
For those who don’t know, Baccarat is the high roller game favored by Asian Gamblers. Now add the fact that the Chinese New Year was in February with an extra day; that was the major contributor to the big financial gains in Vegas. "It's the highest win amount ever recorded for the Las Vegas Strip," Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the Nevada Gaming Board said.
With Baccarat alone the numbers were up to $263.9 million and that’s an increase of 131.40 percent. That’s an extra $150 million that added to the balance sheet and without that the number would have been down 1.1 from last year. Overall, the numbers show that $3.4 billion were wagered on the card tables and another $8.6 billion was played on the slots and video poker machines.
But it wasn’t all due to the casino tables and machines, as the Superbowl also contributed to a major increase in betting revenue. The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens game was a winner for Nevada too. Sportsbooks won $14.2 million and that was up 24% from last year as well. Just on football wagering alone the win for books was $2.2 million and that is up 38% from last year. Even South Lake Tahoe saw the numbers improve by almost 8%.
This is good for everyone in Nevada since the state was hit really badly from the Great Recession starting back in 2008. This is a great indicator that things are starting to improve in the state, “Looking over the last several months, we believe results point to a continued uneven recovery on the Las Vegas Strip,” JP Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff told investors. It amazing what the combination of a Chinese New Year, extra day added on the calendar and a Superbowl can do to the gaming numbers in Vegas.
It seemed like it was a perfect combination of all three, added by pure tourist dollars that pulled it all together for Nevada. Just one day makes a big difference, “We estimated last year that the extra day in February was worth an additional 3.5 percent to the statewide gaming win,” Lawton said.
Now that Nevada has legalized online gaming, next year should be interesting considering that most of the online numbers should be coming in soon for a comparison. Nevada has only 2.7 million residents so it relies heavily on tourism and gambling dollars to pay much of the taxes. With online gaming and people playing on computers soon as they cross the state line, those numbers are sure to increase. Right now the estimates for online gaming revenue range from $2 to $3 million a year but the real jackpot will be whether the state will be able to form compacts with other states to make the numbers really jump.
The real destiny from Nevada would be to become the official licensing and regulation state for the rest of the states everywhere the Internet is located the US. That would create a potential market of $4 to $10 billion dollars per year and globally that could reach up to $30 billion per year. Now it is just a matter of which states and when they will all start to accept online gaming and follow Nevada’s lead. Another key point will they just allow Nevada to provide all the rules for regulation and manage it all in turn getting a piece of the action from each state.
Once the other states see the tax dollars coming in from land based casinos and now combing online gaming licensing tax revenue, it won’t take them long to say, “How did you do that and can you do that for us?” After all, just look at the Powerball lotteries and all the states that win there.