Adams Revenue Revue: July results could have been much worse Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · September 11, 2018 at 12:03 am Let’s get the bad news out of the way. Eleven of the 21 jurisdictions followed by the monthly Adams Gaming Revenue Revue reported year-over-year declines in July. Now the good news. It could have been much worse.Gaming revenue nationwide actually rose by 1 percent to $3.66 billion during the month, which saw declines in Nevada, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. However, Reno-based gaming analyst and consultant Ken Adams, who produces the monthly analysis for CDC Gaming Reports, said cited several positive factors. The opening of two casinos in Atlantic City, coupled with legal sports wagering launching in the state and a “robust’ online gaming presence, allowed the market to grow 12.8 percent in the month – the largest increase in any jurisdiction. Also, Illinois ever-increasing video lottery terminal market, Maryland’s continued strong performance from MGM National Harbor and new casinos in New York state added to the overall U.S. gaming picture. “July was not the sort of month for parades, balloons, and popping Champagne corks,” Adams said. The month, he added, was hurt by one less full weekend compared to July 2017, which, under normal circumstances, could have sent the entire month to a 4 percent decline. Economic factors that normally impact gaming were still positive in July, including declining unemployment, and slight increases in personal income, disposable income, and customer spending. “There are a few red flags: interest rates are creeping up, housing prices may be peaking, fuel prices are closing in on $4 per gallon, and credit card debt is high,” Adams wrote. “But so far these negatives are just indicators of the potential for a slowdown.” For the first seven months of the year, gaming revenue nationwide is up 2.9 percent to $24.7 billion. In Illinois, casino revenue declined 3.6 percent in July, but revenue from VLTs increased 15.2 percent. The state had 29,440 VLTs in July operating in bars, taverns and other locations where alcohol is served. Meanwhile, casino admissions fell 9.4 percent. Adams said declines could worsen for casinos with state lawmakers considering gaming expansion measures, including slot machines at race tracks, additional casinos including one in Chicago, and sports betting. “Of these, only sports betting would aid the existing casinos,” Adams said. Maryland’s MGM National Harbor accounted for 42 of the state’s total gaming revenues in July, which was up 5.6 percent. The smaller Ocean Downs added table games, which helped boost overall gaming revenue at the property by 34 percent. In New York, the state’s four casinos generated $45.2 million in gaming revenue, compared to three casinos and $32.2 million a year ago. Meanwhile, the state’s VLT revenues were down 1.1 percent, a better-than-expected result when facing the increased competition. As for declining jurisdictions, Louisiana saw a 4 percent dip, due in part to a smoking ban enacted at casinos in Baton Rouge. The state’s gaming control board chairman said legalization of sports betting in Mississippi and expanded gaming in Oklahoma and Arkansas also cut into Louisiana’s numbers. Nevada’s less than 1 percent decline was due to customers playing lucky on table games in casinos along the Strip. “It was extremely hot in Las Vegas in July, so it’s not surprising that visitor volume was down 3.4 percent and convention attendance was off 19.5 percent,” Adams wrote. “Still, downtown Las Vegas revenues were up 8.2 percent, so the decline on the Strip was not caused by the heat, or lack of conventioneers or tourists in general; it was the result of a few high-rollers getting lucky.” CDC Gaming Reports distributes the Adams Revenue Revue to premium subscribers. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.