Las Vegas casinos have always been the bulwark of the American casino industry. They’ve thrived in good times and bad. During recessions and booms the casinos of the Vegas Strip were a reliable source of revenue for their owners. But something very unusual has been happening in Sin City over the last four months, revenue at the fabled casinos has been falling.

All told, Nevada casino revenue for April 2019 was down 1.8 percent over the same period in 2018 with totals coming in at $936.5 million. That’s $87 million less than was reported in March 2019. It’s also the fourth straight month of declining casino revenue in America’s top gambling destination.

In Las Vegas itself, where more than 40,000 residents rely on casino work to make a living, revenue from gambling was down a whopping 3.5 percent over the previous year. Part of the blame for the soft April numbers in Las Vegas rests on weak convention bookings that translated into a dip in table gaming revenue. Blackjack, craps and roulette were all down more than 10 percent over the previous year’s April. (Though baccarat revenue was up 2.5 percent.)

The numbers coming out of Nevada are particularly troubling because a four month dip eliminates a lot of mitigating factors such as weather and other seasonal shifts.

In a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (a Sheldon Adelson-owned publication) Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Control Board’s administration division sought to sooth things by saying, “Through the first four months, statewide win is down 1.4 percent.Fortunately, the decreases have all been low single-digit thus far.”

In a state that’s defined itself by challenging luck on a daily basis, Silver State casinos are going to need all the luck they can muster to help avoid a painful 2019.


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