Here in Vegas, we think we’ve got it bad. Total gaming win is still off its 2007 high, spending per visitor is down, and, with many companies overburdened with debt, the future is uncertain. But compared to Atlantic City, we are Macau.
Atlantic City’s casino win starting slumping in 2006 due to new competition from slot parlors in Pennsylvania, and continues to fall. Nevada has seen its gaming win increase, albeit modestly since 2010.
And as any gambler will tell you, breaking even is way, way better than losing.
Here are a couple of numbers to put things into context:
- Net percentage decline in gaming revenues since 2006: Las Vegas Strip, 7.2 percent; Atlantic City, 41.5 percent
- Change in visitation, 2006 to 2011 (last year for which Atlantic City statistics are currently available): Las Vegas, up 0.04 percent; Atlantic City, down 17.6 percent. Note: in 2012, Las Vegas welcomed a record number of visitors (39.8 million)
- Percentage decline in number of employees, 2006 to 2011 (last year for which Atlantic City statistics are currently available): Las Vegas Strip, 8.5 percent; Atlantic City, 22.2 percent. Note: Atlantic City’s employment had already fallen from its peak in 1997; since then, the overall decline is 32.6 percent; by comparison, Strip casino employment has increased by a net 25.3 percent since then
So while there’s a temptation to cast an envious eye at jurisdictions like Macau and Singapore that appear to be minting money in their casinos, it doesn’t hurt to remember that, from other perspectives, we are already living in the promised land.