Nevada’s casino industry turns profit for first time since 2008 | SierraSun.com

Nevada’s casino industry turns profit for first time since 2008

Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

Nevada's casinos turned a profit in 2016 for the first time in 8 years — but it wasn't because of gaming.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada's major non-restricted gaming properties reported income of $978.9 million for fiscal year 2016.

That's their net before federal income tax and extraordinary items for the 273 properties that made $1 million in gaming revenue or more.

Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton said that's a $1.6 billion swing compared to the $661.8 million net loss those same properties reported in 2015, and the first time those casinos have reported a positive net income since fiscal 2008.

Total revenue for all departments in those resorts came in at $25.2 billion, up $643.5 million from the previous year. That's the sixth consecutive increase in total revenue, now just a percent under the record reported in 2007.

A significant part of the overall equation is the decrease in General and Administrative expenses — primarily the resorts' ability to renegotiate loans and debts to lower interest rates. Statewide, G-and-A expenses decreased by more than $830 million to $9.9 billion.

Gaming revenue totaled $10.8 billion for the year but that amounts to just 42.6 percent of the total. Although gaming revenue has increased in five of the last six years, it continues to account for a smaller and smaller percentage of total revenue.

Recommended Stories For You

Room, food and beverage revenues continue to rise much faster, setting all time records for the third consecutive year.

Altogether, non-gaming revenues accounted for 57.4 percent of the total. That includes $5.8 billion in room revenues, up nearly 8 percent; $3.9 billion from food, a 3.1 percent increase; and $1.7 billion from beverages, a 3 percent increase and that category's sixth consecutive record.

The catch-all "other" category makes up the remaining $3 billion in total revenue.

"Overall it's just a really positive report that's kind of tying in to what we've been seeing with widespread recovery driven more by non-gaming than gaming," said Lawton.

The most dramatic turnaround was by the South Shore casinos at Lake Tahoe, where 2015's $150.8 million net loss turned into a $14.1 million net income in 2016.

That change had little to do with gaming, where revenues were actually down a percent or $2.1 million. Room revenues rose 22.3 percent, helping total revenue for the area to hit $375 million.

One reason for the improvement was a full year of operation by the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. But another key factor at Tahoe's South Shore, as it was across the state, was the decreases in General and Administrative expenses. At South Shore, G-and-A expenses decreased $149.4 million.

Washoe County locations reported net income of $143.7 million for the year, a huge swing from the $7.4 million net loss last year.

Total revenue for Washoe casinos was $1.5 billion, a 4.8 percent increase even though the number of locations in the non-restricted $1 million plus gaming category decreased by four to 33.

Two of those operations — Bourbon Square and the Siena — closed their doors. The other two just fell below the $1 million mark and, thus, aren't counted in the abstract.

The Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County, reported net income of $8.4 million in 2016, a 44 percent increase over the $5.8 million net in 2015.

Carson Valley casinos have now recorded six consecutive years of positive income. General and Administrative expenses helped the bottom line by decreasing $834,000.

While the abstract breaks out data for Clark County, South Shore, Elko, Carson Valley and Washoe County, it lumps all the rural counties into one category — which would include North Lake Tahoe — so detailed statistics for those locations aren't available.

Outside those categories, the balance of the state had just 40 casinos earning more than $1 million from gaming and a total net income in 2016 of $17.2 million.

By the numbers

Below are fiscal year totals for Nevada casino income (or loss) since 2007, based on reports from all of the state’s gaming properties:

2016: $983,683,389

2015: -$661,779,138

2014: -$743,688,008

2013: -$1,348,992,937

2012: -$1,212,990,361

2011: -$3,996,656,422

2010: -$3,432,514,103

2009: -$6,778,293,613

2008: $721,181,848

2007: $2,297,481,525

Source: Nevada Gaming Control Board.