So much for the bottom.
Numbers have been released, and they show that the Las Vegas Strip has endured its third straight monthly decline in gambling revenue. June saw a 7.6% gaming decline, and it was the worst month since October of 2009.
The Strip's decline in June was largely attributed to an implosion in Baccarat win. More money was wagered on the game, yet its hold fell from 12.9% to 3.5% year-over-year. Apparently, people have figured out a way to beat a pure game of chance.
Overall, due to "lucky gamblers", Las Vegas' gaming win was the lowest it's been since 2003.
According to the AP:
"Baccarat, a high-roller game that can sway overall monthly results, saw a significant increase in play, but gamblers were lucky and beat the house."
Now, statistically, I don't understand how these wide deviations can happen. Even though yapping heads have blamed luck for June's numbers, this explanation makes no sense. There is really no such thing as "luck". It's just more mental morphine that people like to believe exists ... but its presence is more abstract than tangible. Luck is a statistical aberration. It's coincidence. It has no intrinsic affinity for any particular person or group -- such as Baccarat gamblers.
I understand session swings, and I can see how the house deviation can vary over the course of 1-2 hours, but given the sheer number of hands played ... I do not understand how 10%-ish variations can occur over the course of a month. Assuming a Vegas Strip casino has only 10 tables being played at 500 total hands-per-hour, that is 3.6 million hands every thirty days. Spread over 20 casinos, this means that ... very conservatively ... The Vegas Strip deals 72 million gaming hands per month.
Statistical variance in a sample this large should be non-existent. It's damn near 100 million hands. This is what most people refer to as "the long run". Any anomalies should be ironed out after one million ... two million hands tops.
As such, attributing the decreased gaming win to "lucky gamblers" seems to be specious reasoning at best.
Anyway, the decrease was not just confined to The Strip.
Revenue for all of Nevada fell 6.7%, and Clark County as a whole fell 6.9%.
As it usually happens with these dips, Downtown took the brunt of the punishment. The Fremont Street area was off 11.7 percent, and this surprises me somewhat. In my opinion, as of right now, Downtown offers the far superior "Vegas Experience". Brighter lights, better gaming, better atmosphere, hotter dealers, more free and live entertainment ... it's just better. When I get fully settled and return to Las Vegas as a tourist, which I will probably do 1-2 times each month, I am going to book the majority of my rooms Downtown.
In order to catch a show or two and eat at a high end buffet, I'll certainly book The Strip sometimes, but that which I miss most about Vegas right now is the ability to wander from one skin pit to another on foot while stopping to listen to psuedo-Aerosmith after watching a gigantic light show. Due to traffic, mile-long walks, and deteriorating gaming conditions ... over the years, I morphed from a Strip Snob into a Downtown fan. The Downtown fanboidom really picked up steam when the Fremont Street Experience began themeing last year. For some reason, I thought those who missed the "traditional" Las Vegas would follow suit, but it just hasn't been happening.
My guess is that ultra-cheap room rates in places like Encore, Bellagio, and Mandalay Bay are simply too irresistible for the average tourist to ignore. If the decision is between paying $69 at the Golden Nugget, or $119 at the Wynn ... most people still seem to see the Wynn as a better value. Right now in Las Vegas, gambling is an afterthought and accommodations are king.
Anyway, if you've been planning a trip to Las Vegas for awhile, it may finally be time to pull the trigger. Apparently, you the gambler are getting lucky in record numbers. You better cash in on it before your luck runs out.
It's only a matter of time before the house figures out a way to yank the odds solidly back into their favor, and when they do, it could get ugly.
6:5.9 Blackjack anyone?