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LAS VEGAS-Gaming and hotel metrics are continuing in their depressed ways, according to August data released late last week by the state Gaming Control Board and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau. Visitor volume, hotel occupancy, average room rate, convention attendance and gaming win were all down in August compared to the same month in 2008.

The good news is the year-over-year decline should be coming to an end. The bad news is that it’s not due to improved performance in 2009 but rather markedly worse performance in the final three months of 2008.

Through the first nine months of 2008, visitor volume was off by between 0.6% and 4.6% compared to the same months in 2007. In the final three months of 2008, visitor volume was off by between 9.8% and 10.9%. Of course, the same trend generally held true for the tourist-driven metrics, with hotel occupancy and room rates also declining rapidly throughout the fourth quarter of last year, which means the 2008 results will be easier to outperform for the remainder of 2009.

Visitor volume in August 2009 was 3.09 million, down from 3.21 million in August 2008 and 3.35 million in August 2007. Strip gaming win, the amount gamblers lose in casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, came in at $449.56 million in August 2009, down from $494.01 million in August 2008 and $533.67 million in August 2007. Convention attendance totaled 235,841 in August 2009, down from 574,184 in August 2008 and 739,215 in August 2007.

Average hotel occupancy, affected by thousands of new hotel rooms in the market as well as the recession, was 81.4%, down from 88.3% in August 2008 and 91.4% in August 2007. Average room rate was $84.02 in August 2009, down from $107.01 in August 2008 and $126.38 in August 2007.

Through the first eight months of 2009, visitor volume (24.45 million) is running 5.8% below 2008, hotel occupancy (82.7%) is running 620 basis points behind, the average daily room rate ($92.58) is running 25.4% behind, convention attendance (3.16 million) is running 30% behind and Strip gaming win ($3.64 billion) is running 13.6% behind.

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