Analyst worries Senate campaign tone will hurt Vegas

21 July 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Could the toxic rhetoric of Nevada's U.S. Senate campaign be a detriment to how much Las Vegas residents might spend with local casino operators?

Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Andrew Zarnett believes this to be true.

He told investors Tuesday the negative tone from the campaigns of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican challenger, former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, could hurt casino spending by Nevadans.

On Monday, the campaigns traded heated comments over June's unemployment figures, 14.2 percent statewide and 14.5 percent in Las Vegas.

Zarnett said the drumbeat of the election highlights the state's record unemployment and a worsening Nevada economy.

"We see no upside to a harsh campaign that reinforces the poor condition of the local economy and aggressively reminds residents of the economic crisis that afflicts their economy," Zarnett wrote in a research note. "We believe this may add to the negative impact on the Las Vegas locals market."

Zarnett said Boyd Gaming, which derives about 45 percent of its overall cash flow from its locals operations, Station Casinos and Cannery Casinos, are the mostly likely companies to be affected.


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