Given the positive stock market reaction, investors were surprised by the 6% increase in Dec Strip gaming revs. Due to low table hold %, the Strip actually missed our +8% projection.
In our 1/25/10 post, "AIRPORT TRAFFIC DOWN BUT REVS MAY BE UP", we had predicted +8% growth in Strip gaming revenues for December based on expected strong Chinese Baccarat play and easy hold percentage comparisons with December 2008. Of course, our projection assumed normal hold. Table hold percentage was below normal in December 2009 once again, although slot hold was a little better. Normalizing both provides a +8% increase in Strip gaming revenues, exactly in-line with our projection.
Baccarat continues to be the story with win up 102%, and while hold percentage was better than last year, volume was still up 23%. It will be interesting to see if the Baccarat segment can maintain its recent explosion, similar to Macau VIP, as the liquidity and credit tightens in China and GDP slows sequentially. On the negative side, slot volume declined 11.5% while slot volume per visitor declined 12.8%.
Here is a 2 year monthly chart of the performance of these very important metrics: