CVI provides bigger picture of gaming decline |

CVI provides bigger picture of gaming decline

by Scott Neuffer

A drop in gaming win in the month of May is another reminder for local casino operators that the old way of doing business might be just that – a thing of the past.

“It’s very obvious that gaming in Northern Nevada has been in the doldrums for at least the last three years now, and that despite occasional little bumps one month, the trend is flat and slightly down overall in the area,” said Bill Henderson, sales director for Carson Valley Inn in Minden. “What’s interesting right now is that we’re comparing figures from this year to last year. The fact of the matter is that nothing in the trend points at going back to the years business was booming.”

According to data released last week by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, casinos in the Carson Valley area procured about 10 percent less in gaming win in May compared to the same month last year.

Casinos in Carson City, Gardnerville, Minden and other areas in the county besides Lake Tahoe took in approximately $8.25 million, down from $9.16 million the previous year.

The area is down 2.3 percent for the fiscal year.

Henderson believes the old model of setting up a casino on the state line and letting the cash roll in will not work now or in the future.

Rather, he said operators that improve their properties, offer entertainment, dining, recreation, and a high-quality experience for their guests will dominate the market. Gaming will be a component of the new market, but not its sole feature.

“We’ve improved the property, and have really stepped up our offerings, special events and entertainment,” he said. “Instead of trying to bring us back to where we were three years ago, we’re trying to do everything we can to prosper in the new reality of what gaming is in Northern Nevada. What we’ve done is try to improve the overall experience people get at the Carson Valley Inn. That’s not only helping us survive, but helping us improve in tough times.”

For better or worse, Henderson said that Carson Valley gaming is affected by Stateline’s casino core, which took a huge hit in May.

South Shore casinos took in $13.34 million compared to $18.25 million the previous year – a 27 percent drop.

In the fiscal year to date, which started in July 2011, South Shore is up .76 percent over the same time period the previous year.

May proved to be a tough month for the entire state, which saw a 10 percent drop in gaming win compared to May 2011. The state raked in roughly $885 million versus $984 million a year before.

The main source of gaming revenue for the state, Clark County, fell more than 10 percent, while Washoe County fell more than 5 percent in May.

In the fiscal year to date, the state is up 1.26 percent.

“In our case, by doing all these things, we’ve been able to continue gaming,” said Henderson. “We’re continually updating our product, our property, and when you start adding up all these things, you see that we’re starting to bring people back we haven’t seen for a while.”