Casino gaming revenue on the Las Vegas Strip stood at US$613 million in July, up by 16.8 percent year-on-year, show data disclosed on Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The improvement was largely driven by baccarat. July baccarat win of US$148.5 million in the Strip was up 40.6 percent year-on-year. Baccarat volume was up 12.8 percent in the month, marking the first year-on-year monthly increase in baccarat volume since September 2015.
“We had anticipated a strong July on the Strip based on positive commentary from a number of casino operators coupled with the extra weekend compared with the prior year period. However, above-normal table hold also provided a boost to the Strip results in July,” said John DeCree, an analyst at Union Gaming Securities LLC.
He added: “Normalising for table hold, we estimate Strip gaming revenue would have still been up about 6.5 percent in the month.”
The Las Vegas Strip, in Clark County in the state of Nevada, is the main gaming hub in the United States. State-wide gross gaming revenue was up 10 percent from the prior-year month, coming in at US$1.02 billion.
Analysts have said the Strip’s baccarat results have experienced volatility in the past few months because of a slowdown in the number of Chinese players visiting, and the amount those that do come have been gambling. They have said this is partly related to the anti-corruption initiative in China and the perception among Chinese visitors to Las Vegas that they are being monitored by their own government. The table game is the gambling pursuit of choice for many Asian customers visiting Las Vegas.
Cameron McKnight of Wells Fargo Securities LLC said in a note that there was “no clear reason” for the strong volumes in baccarat in July.
“There seems to be less clarity on when large players come into town, but in July some big players showed up. There was also a baccarat tournament in the month,” said Mr McKnight.
Commenting on the baccarat volume, Union Gaming’s Mr DeCree said: “While we had heard operators reporting some higher end baccarat customers returning to Las Vegas, we would not expect this level of recovery in the baccarat business to continue.”
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China