Nevada casinos collected $885 million from gamblers in May, down from $984 million in the same month a year ago. Strip casinos took in $475 million in May, down from $580 million in May 2011.
The comparison was a tough one as May 2011 is one of the strongest months that casinos in Vegas and Nevada as a whole had booked in nearly three years, with only one month -- January 2012 -- surpassing it.
May 2012 not only had one less Saturday when compared to the previous period but also saw lower-than-usual numbers as far as the casino hold on two popular games: baccarat and blackjack.
The casino hold for baccarat (which is the amount of money won by casinos as compared to how much was wagered in total) in May 2012 came in at just over 8 percent, well off the 12 month average of 12 percent. The same was true of blackjack at 8.5 percent, which was the lowest hold percentage on record since casinos began tracking the stat since the 1980s.
If there was a bright spot in the May numbers it was a continued resurgence in the gambling market for locals.
May revenues for North Las Vegas, Boulder Strip and the balance of the county outside of Las Vegas showed a small 6 per cent increase.
Some analysts have pointed to a recovery in the locals market as key to a sustainable recovery in the gambling markets on both the Strip and Nevada as a whole.
While revenues have stabilized since plummeting during the recent recession, much of the recovery to date has been fueled by unpredictable results from increased baccarat play, which can skew monthly results dramatically, and a demographic that faces increased competition from areas such as Macau and Singapore for gambling dollars.