n Las Vegas, casino proceeds on the Strip dropped to us$ 461.3 million in July from a year earlier, Nevada’s Gaming Control Board said today on its Web site. Gambling proceeds in the New Jersey seaside city dropped to us$ 391.7 million, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission said in its statement.
Strip gambling has fallen more than 10 % in every month since September 2008, with the exception of May’s 6.4 % drop. Las Vegas casinos have slashed room prices and increased special offers in response to company conference cancellations and betting declines of as much as 23 percent in February and 26 % in October. Atlantic City is being hurt by competition from neighboring states.
This year through July, Strip revenue has tumbled 14 %, compared with the record 11 % drop for all of 2008. Airport passenger traffic in Las Vegas fell 12 % in the first seven months of 2009, according to the Clark County Department of Aviation, as airlines including US Airways Group Inc. and UAL Corp.’s United cut capacity.
MGM Mirage CEO Jim Murren and Wynn Resorts Ltd. CEO Stephen Wynn said business in Las Vegas was stabilizing after releasing second-quarter results. “Less worse is the new operative term,” in Las Vegas, Joel Simkins, an analyst at Macquarie Securities USA Inc., said in an interview last month. “We still remain very cautious with the expected onslaught of CityCenter this December and its predicted opening will cast a pall over Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, as well as other major operators on the Strip.”
MGM Mirage is the biggest casino owner on the 4.5 mile Strip, with nine operating resorts and CityCenter, Las Vegas’s biggest development, due to open in December. Wynn Resorts Ltd. owns the namesake Wynn casino and neighboring Encore.
MGM Mirage, whose largest shareholder is Kirk Kerkorian, rose us$ 1.15, or 11.4 %, to us$ 11.24 today in New York Stock Exchange Composite trading. The shares have lost 18 % this year. Sheldon Adelson’sLas Vegas Sands Corp., which has almost tripled this year, in Las Vegas, lost 60 cents to us$ 16.24. Wynn, up 47 % year to date, rose us$ 1.06 to us$ 62.15.
About 21.4 million people visited Las Vegas in the seven months through July, a 6 % decline from a year earlier, according to Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority data released today. Convention attendance tumbled 26 %. Strip gambling revenue last increased in December 2007, when it rose less than 1 %.