Casino News - Nevada Casinos Flat, Macau Mulls Tourist Tax

Casino News Roundup

This week’s casino news focuses in on casino revenues in both Nevada and Macau. Let’s start off on this side of the world as Nevada’s casinos have announced their revenues from February.

Nevada Casino Revenue Flat In February; Sportsbooks Get Record Handle

The numbers are in on Nevada’s February revenues and the state will consider it a good month. While most of the gaming returns were flat month-over-month, the state took in over one billion dollars in gaming revenue. This information came from the state’s Gaming Control Board, who summarized the numbers.

The report for February identified a decrease of 0.62 percent last month, with the revenue figure being $1.012 billion. So that is essentially a situation in which revenue is flat. This was a case of Clark County revenue going up 0.44 percent, while the Las Vegas Strip’s revenue (which is more localized and from a smaller number of outlets) went down by 1.95 percent. Downtown Las Vegas had a revenue increase of nine percent.

In terms of what games didn’t deliver for the casinos, analysis showed a decrease in baccarat win (meaning luckier players at tables) as a key source of the flat revenue and the failure to attain overall revenue growth. With Baccarat off about 25%, that now makes it seven of the last eight months that the game’s revenue has declined. The casinos aren’t really concerned, though.

Record Sportsbook Handle In February Highlighted By Super Bowl

While the gaming revenues were flat, the sportsbooks did more than their share of making up ground. They notched a 235 percent improvement over the previous year, thanks to a record handle of $458.6 million. The Super Bowl was a big winner for the books as the matchup attracted a lot of action. Basketball betting also got a boost of 8.1%.

Diving deeper into the numbers, sportsbooks notched an increase in wagers of 10 percent year-over-year from February 2018. Sportsbooks won $35.8 million on that $458.6 million handle mentioned above. The Super Bowl brought betting winnings of $10.8 million as a part of the $35.8 million overall sports betting total for February in Nevada. There was a February decline in activity in North Lake Tahoe and Northern Nevada. But those declines were due to severe weather in the area, not decreased interest in betting activity.

Macau to Study Possible Introduction Of A Tourist Tax

Macau is flush with cash but they’re still looking at ways to find more streams of revenue. The latest idea is a discussion surrounding the idea of implementing a new tax on travelers entering the city. The money raised from this would then go to develop the city’s tourism-based infrastructure.

It’s a bit surprising as this comes on the heels of the local government announcing a budget surplus at the end of 2018 in the amount of $6.66 billion. There isn’t necessarily a need for this, but most tourists visiting probably won’t be deterred by a minor tax. Tourists rarely notice foreign taxes when they travel, although it’s unclear how this one will be implemented.

No deadline for the completion of studies had been disclosed.