With the U.S. financial markets soaring to new heights in 2013, it was apparent that people were willing to gamble last year. Unfortunately for Nevada, they weren’t willing to gamble on dice, cards, and spinning reels as much as the state would have liked. For the fifth straight year, Silver State casinos lost money and lots of it.
According to the 2013 Nevada Gaming Abstract, published by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Friday, the 263 casinos in the state that grossed $1 million or more in gaming revenue lost a combined $1,348,992,937. In case the font is too small to count the commas, that’s 1.35 BILLION dollars. That is 11 percent worse than in 2012, when the net loss was $1,212,990,361.
That’s not to say that the casinos didn’t bring in plenty of cash. Total revenue for the casinos was $23,075,800,942, up slightly from the $22,976,587,493 in revenue in 2012. Of the 2013 revenue, $10,395,664,337, or 45.1 percent, came from actual gambling. Hotel rooms provided the next largest portion of revenue, $4,788,237,661 (20.8 percent), while $5,114,388,579 (22.2 percent) was from food and beverage. The remaining $2,777,509,875 (12.0 percent) was classified as “other,” and probably includes things like retail and other hotel services.
As one might expect, “coin operated devices” such as slot machines and video poker dominated gaming revenue, accounting for $6,751,265,226, or 64.9 percent of the total. “Pit” games, which include blackjack, craps, and roulette, were next with $3,291,472,479 (31.7 percent). Poker was almost irrelevant, bringing in just $152,746,688, a paltry 1.5 percent of the total.
The problem was that expenses were sky high. For example, casino “comps” totaled $2,165,239,651, a full one-fifth of gaming revenue. Expenses for “preferred guests” totaled $237,475,010. Interest expenses were $2,932,769,643 and total depreciation and amortization, including building depreciation, was $2,373,053,492. And we all know about all those bright lights; the 263 casinos spent $367,967,554 on energy.
The casinos on the Las Vegas Strip did the brunt of the damage, losing $1,496,580,449 on their own, a 13 percent drop from the previous year. Thus, the rest of the million-dollar casinos in Nevada actually made money. The best performing defined area was the Boulder Strip, which made $44,220,334. Boulder Strip casinos include Green Valley Ranch, Sunset Station, and Boulder Station, to name a few. The “Balance” of Clark County technically made $120,042,863, but that’s more like a less-defined “other casinos” category.
Laughlin was the most successful on a percentage growth basis, making $13,065,970, a jump of 288.9 percent over 2012.