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McCarran Airport reported that the number of enplaned/deplaned passengers declined 14.1% in December 2008 versus 2007. This is the fourth consecutive double digit monthly decline, albeit slightly better than November’s 14.7% drop. November gaming revenues ultimately came in down 16%.

It’s tough to glean much positive out of this number but we will try. The comparison, particularly on slot revenue, is quite easy. The Strip casinos held way below normal on their slots last year in December. A normal hold percentage is around 7% while for December 2007 the percentage was only 5.9%. The table hold percentage was also low last year at 12.1% versus a normalized percentage of 13%.

So while we are forecasting a 19% drop in total gaming volume, the largest since 9/11, total revenue could fall by only an estimated 11%. Of course, this analysis assumes a normal hold percentage in December 2008, which is the best we can do since we don’t have inside information.

An 11% drop in revenues would not be good, but it could’ve been worse.

Another double digit drop in McCarran airport traffic
Revenues should look better than the airport data