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Nevada’s Revenue Continues to Drop

10 March 2011 by admin

Las-Vegas_396482621Bad news is never easy to hear, even if you were expecting it. Even if you know what’s wrong, it’s still devastating hearing the diagnosis from the doctor. Such is the case with the casino industry in Nevada. It is clear to anyone paying attention that the downward trend is continuing and that the recession, combining with several other factors, has the industry in its worst shape in years.

Today the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research released its gaming statistics for Las Vegas and the state of Nevada for the month of January. The numbers aren’t good. The data shows what UNLV calls a “persistent, moderate decline in the state’s gaming revenues.” It is the third straight month of decline.

In January of 2011, total revenue for the state of Nevada was $877.4 million, a drop from $883.3 million in 2010. To really put it into perspective, in January of 2006, the revenue was $1.14 billion. If you narrow the focus to the Las Vegas Strip, January 2011 had gambling revenue of $482.7 million, the lowest figure since 2004’s $482.5 million. Last year, the Strip brought in $495 million and back in 2006, it was $627.5 million.

screamerWith numbers like that, it is clear that Nevada cannot continue to do the same thing and hope to recover. If they want to turn things around and improve an unemployment rate of 14.2% (using a kind estimate), it’s time to do something. The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. I think that is why late last year many in the Vegas casino industry came around to the idea of online poker regulation. Previously seen as a competitor, they saw adapting to the online world as necessary for survival.

It can’t just be poker, though. Brick and mortar casinos need to pressure the state of Nevada or the U.S. Congress into regulating online gambling. The casinos then need to launch online casinos offering the same games and a similar experience for those who can’t make a trip to Vegas. Then for the brick and mortar casinos, work on upgrading the amenities and improving the experience. Those are just a few steps they need to take, but they are important steps and it is time for Nevada to realize, before it’s too late, that a change is needed.

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