For the first time in 26 months, Las Vegas visitation fell.
Total visitor volume in April was down 0.9 percent from the same month in 2011, ending more than two years of consecutive gains in prior-year comparisons for the monthly Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority count, officials said Tuesday.
A total of 3.3 million tourists came to Las Vegas in April, down from April 2011’s 3.4 million total. Year to date, 13.08 million people have visited the city, up 2.4 percent from 2011’s 12.77 million year-to-date total.
“It’s a good number. Of course, anything larger would be great, but I’m happy to see the middle twos,” said Scott Russell, senior manager of research for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, about the year-to-date percent figure.
The tourism authority cited one less weekend in April compared with the month in 2011 as the reason for the drop in visitors. In 2011, April had 10 weekend days compared with eight in 2012.
In its report, Union Gaming’s analysts said April’s numbers were “just OK,” but did note that next month’s tabulation of May’s visitor numbers “will benefit from event-driven demand including a (Floyd) Mayweather fight.”
April’s citywide hotel and motel occupancy combined also decreased, by 1.2 percent. Year-to-date, total citywide occupancy increased a miniscule 0.1 percent, with hotel occupancy rising year-to-date by 0.6 percent, while motel occupancy’s year-to-date count dropped 3.5 percent.
Weekend stays in April were down 0.5 percent from 2011’s numbers, and midweek occupancy, which usually is greatly supported by convention attendance, also saw a decrease of 0.8 percent. Overall, Las Vegas had 3.9 million occupied hotel-room nights in April, down 0.5 percent from 2011.
Convention attendance in April also was down 4.9 percent in prior-year comparisons to 414,510 from 435,934 in 2011, which affected the midweek stays. Total conventions and meetings held are up 5.5 percent to 1,938 from 1,837.
Gambling revenues up 6 percent
Nevada gambling revenues rose more than 6.1 percent in April, to $855.7 million, compared with the same month last year, the state Gaming Control Board announced Tuesday.
The single-digit increase was a return to the plus side after a 10.8 percent decline in March.
The state posted revenue increases of 5.7 percent in February and 18.4 percent in January, according to figures compiled by Nevada gaming regulators.
Analysts described the results as mixed, with high-end games returning strong results while table games and slots that appeal to a mass market were down for the month.
“This trend should benefit Las Vegas Strip gaming operators that cater to baccarat play, including Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and some of the high-end MGM properties and Caesars Place,” said Bill Lerner, an analyst with Union Gaming Group in Las Vegas.
Lerner said he expects growth in “high-end play” to continue into next month’s May results, while May’s strong event calendar should bolster mass market results.”
The Nevada Gaming Control Board said results were mixed among the state’s gaming centers in April, with the majority of revenue gains posted in Southern Nevada. The Strip’s total was $459.3 million, up 7.45 percent from April 2011.
“The strength on the Strip stemmed largely from an increase in table hold and baccarat drop,” said Carlo Santarelli, an analyst with Deutsche Bank. He noted table hold was up 7.7 percent in April compared with 6.8 percent in the same month last year, while year-over-year baccarat drop was up 32.6 percent on the Strip.
Downtown Las Vegas reported a 25 percent increase in revenue, to $48.5 million, while North Las Vegas reported the largest increase at 42.3 percent, to $26.9 million, in April.
Wynn buys share of Australia bakery chain
Steve Wynn bought a $15 million slice in Pie Face USA, a U.S. subsidiary of an Australia-based bakery-cafe chain known for meat pot pies.
Wynn acquired 43 percent of the issued and outstanding shares of Pie Face’s common stock in a private placement. He also will appoint two of five directors to the company’s board of directors, according to terms of the deal.
Wynn’s investment is personal and does not involve his Las Vegas-based gaming company Wynn Resorts Ltd., Michael Weaver, senior vice president marketing strategy, said Wednesday.
Based in Sydney, Pie Face Holdings Pty Ltd operates 75 locations in Australia. Wynn’s private investment will help the company expand in New York City and across the United States.