Nevada just released February gaming revenues and the Las Vegas Locals Market declined only 5% versus a 22% year-over-year drop in January. The comparison wasn't necessarily easy either. Last year February declined only 6% and February 2009 had one less Saturday, one less Sunday, and compared against a leap year.
Why are we getting excited about a 5% decline? We recognize that it is only one month of data but in this environment we are very focused on deltas. In this case, the delta is clearly better. Business could be getting less bad. We also focus on six month moving averages in our Delta Charts. Here, the six month moving average turned up for the first time in a year, potentially indicative of an intermediate pivot.
It is highly unlikely that March will result in continued upward momentum in the moving average line, but April most certainly will. March 2009 revenues would have to increase almost 5% for this to happen since September, the only positive growth month in the last 8, exits the 6 month average in March. However, March revenue growth, while likely negative, should exceed the 6 month moving average and the delta would remain positive.
Our intermediate thesis on the Locals Las Vegas market is that 2009 will be "less bad" (positive delta) and 2010 could actually show growth. We predicted as much in our 02/05/09 note "THE LOCALS LAS VEGAS MACRO MODEL". This would be a positive scenario for BYD, the largest public company operating in this market.