Nevada’s 71 poker rooms reported revenue of $8,730,000 in October. While this represented just a 0.15 percent decline in comparison to October last year, takings for the past 12 months was down 2.28 percent $118,260,000, compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The figures are a concern, because, in general, tourism is booming in Las Vegas and the city looks to be on course for a record year for visitor numbers.
It’s just that they aren’t playing poker, apparently.
The WSOP enjoyed a record year in terms of visitors, and naturally the poker rooms were buzzing over the summer, thanks to a deliberate ploy by organizers Caesars to increase the number of affordable buy-in, big-field tournaments.
It worked. A record 22,000 people turned out for the Colossus event alone, and take at the poker rooms swelled accordingly in June and July, bringing in $15,840,000 and $11,458,000, respectively.
But this belies a downward trend when the world’s poker players haven’t been lured into town by the jingle jangle of WSOP bracelets. Throughout 2015, revenue increased year-over-year from May to August, while dropping in the other six months of the year so far.
And it appears to be a long-term trend: poker revenue in Nevada for the 2014 calendar year was $119,904,000, down from $123,891,000 in 2013. Meanwhile, the amount of tables operating throughout the Silver State is currently at its lowest since 2005.
The good news is that the Mirage poker room reopened in May after a four-month redecoration; the bad news is that it reopened with seven fewer tables than previously.
Meanwhile, Hooters was the second casino in Las Vegas to shutter its poker room this year, and the 14th over the past two and a half years.
Other rooms that have closed recently include Bill’s Gambling Hall, Circus Circus, El Cortez, Fitzgerald’s, Gold Coast, Palms, Riviera, Sunset Station, M Resort, Texas Station, and Tropicana.
Fewer Visitors Come to Vegas to Gamble
The casinos that looked to cash in on the poker boom of the mid-noughties by opening poker rooms are beginning to abandon the idea in preference for more lucrative rows of slots, which remain the biggest money-spinner for operators on the casino floor.
And while more people are coming to Vegas, figures suggest fewer are coming to gamble. A recent study by the Las Vegas Convention Centers Authority found that, of the 41 million people who visited Vegas last year, while 71 percent placed at least one bet during their stay, only 12 percent of visitors to Las Vegas in 2014 came primarily to gamble.
Instead they focused their attention on the increased non-gaming amenities that Vegas has to offer.
All this is good news for the Vegas economy, but it may not be very good news for poker.
Live Poker Figures 2015