Casino Update: Pojoaque, Santa Clara Post Summer Gains; Overall Revenues Flat - November 28, 2011

"Five of the six casinos showing increases were in northern New Mexico."

Summer is the big tourist season in New Mexico and casinos are eager to tap that revenue source. However, third quarter figures released by the New Mexico Gaming Control Board show eight of the 14 gaming tribes reported decreases in “net win” from the second quarter reporting.  Five of the six casinos showing increases were in northern New Mexico.

The Pueblo of Pojoaque (Buffalo Thunder, Cities of Gold, Sports Bar) posted a 6.7% increase.  Santa Clara Pueblo (Santa Claran Casino) gaming was up 7.28% and Taos Pueblo (Taos Mountain Casino) was up 10.6%. San Felipe Pueblo’s gaming interests were up 2.4% and the Jicarilla operation in Dulce was up $165,000 or 13%.  The biggest winner in the state was the Mescalero gaming operation, which enjoyed a solid 25% increase in the July, August, September quarter compared to the April, May, June period.  By virtue of their strong third quarter, Mescalero has surpassed Santa Ana in the rankings (see below).  Santa Clara also moved past Acoma as a result of its strong third quarter.

Numbers released by the State of New Mexico Gaming Control Board indicate overall gaming activity showed a 2.32% gain in the third quarter of 2011 when compared to second quarter.  Overall, the 14 tribal casinos in New Mexico generated $184,068,748 of “net win” in the third quarter of 2011, compared to $179,893,675 in the second quarter of 2011. Compared to the same quarter in 2010, revenues are only up 2.5%.

Tesuque’s numbers, which had shown a huge increase last quarter, have been adjusted down.  In a new posting, the Gaming Control Board reduced Camel Rock’s net win by $2 million.  At least one casino had questioned those numbers saying they felt they were wrong, and they were. It appears the mistake occurred in the posting of the figures and not in the reporting by Tesuque.

Tesuque’s net win was down 1.2% and Ohkay Casino showed a 3.8% decrease from the spring to summer months.

The increases for Pojoaque come as good news, as the pueblo fired the Fine Point  management group in March after only two months on the job, and all operations have been in-house since that time.  A new management company, Full House, took over in late September.

Each gaming tribe reports their “net win” on a quarterly basis. The definition of “net win,” according to the Gaming Control Board, “is the amount wagered on gaming machines, less the amount paid out in cash and non-cash prizes won on the gaming machines, less State and Tribal Regulatory fees.” Net win, according to the Gaming Board, “is not the net profit of the casino."

Basically it’s the casino’s “hold” of each slot or poker machine, or the percentage of money it gets for each dollar that is played through a machine. The State of New Mexico does not get any revenue from any of the other gaming activity at an Indian casino, so any revenues generated through the black jack, craps, roulette, pai gow or poker tables go to the tribe, as does bingo revenue. The state receives about 9.25% of the net win, or about $17 million this most recent quarter.

Tribal Gaming Rankings by Net Win

Tribe /3rd Quarter Net Win /Name of Casino(s)

1. Pueblo of Sandia, $44,651,278, Sandia Casino

2. Pueblo of Laguna, $22,915,232, Dancing Eagle Casino, Route 66 Casino

3. Pueblo of Isleta, $22,221,672, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino,

4. Mescalero Apache Tribe, $21,828,555, Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino, Casino Apache Travel Center

5. Pueblo of Santa Ana, $17,583,731, Santa Ana Star Casino

6. Pueblo of Pojoaque, $15,118,250, Buffalo Thunder Casino, Sports Bar Casino, Cities of Gold Casino

7. Navajo Nation, $10,821,807, Fire Rock Navajo Casino, Flowing Water Casino

8. Pueblo of Tesuque, $5,930,779, Camel Rock Casino

9. Pueblo of Santa Clara, $5,569,377, Santa Claran Hotel-Casino (Big Rock)

10. Pueblo of Acoma, $5,099,452, Sky City Casino

11. Pueblo of San Felipe, $4,913,028, San Felipe Casino Hollywood

12. Ohkay Owingeh, $3,614,877, Ohkay Casino

13. Pueblo of Taos, $2,363,382, Taos Mountain Casino

14. Jicarilla Apache Tribe, $1,437,328, Apache Nugget Casino