In Las Vegas, the tide is turned not by the weather, but seemingly by one game – baccarat. According to Howard Stutz, of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “analysts looked to make sense out of February’s gaming revenue results in Nevada where Strip casinos declined 4.4 percent and every reporting market in the state saw either a gaming revenue increase or flat results.”
He believes January and February should be compared on a combined basis. The dates of the lucrative Chinese New Year are a moving target. Last year, the holiday began on Jan. 31. This year, the holiday started on Feb. 19. “Some of January’s collections may have been pushed into February, and some of February’s collections may be pushed into March,” Pirosch told the firm’s clients in a research report. “This collection scenario is similar to last year.”
Could this also contribute to the decline in revenue at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in January & February? Unfortunately, the stats available are only on slots, not table games. But, with so many Asian patrons at both casinos, this could have played an influence.
And, Mohegan Sun did show a modest rise in revenue at the beginning of the year. If the Chinese New Year explanation applies, then I conclude that this is a positive sign before the rush of competition in 2017.
However, Las Vegas has it’s own competition woes for big players – Macau, China. Macau has become the world-wide center of gambling. But increased pressure from the Chinese government on Macau casinos has lessened the blow to Las Vegas. So, why the concern over baccarat? Pirosch said “Baccarat volumes are where they were in the recession era….If the math kicks back in to the players’ favor, substantial declines could be on the horizon.” Should this concern the mega casinos in CT and the impending big name casinos in Massachusetts being built by Wynn & MGM?
The concern in New England is two-fold then:
- The fight for big players, especially table games such as baccarat, to stay afloat and succeed above the rest, and
- The fight for “MANY” slots players, whose revenue goes into the governmental coffers all those New England states vying for casino revenue.
In both cases, we are many years away to see the story unfold.
That’s all for now.