Nevada casino revenues down 3.1 percent in August

Oct 11, 2012 8:55 AM

Nevada casinos won $859.2 million from gamblers in August, a decline of 3.1 percent from the same month a year ago despite strong betting action on the high roller game of baccarat, state regulators reported Wednesday.

On the Las Vegas Strip, which accounts for about half of gambling volume statewide, the $490.9 million won by casinos fell 1.2 percent from August 2011, according to the report by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Strip and statewide winnings were propped up by baccarat, a game favored by Asian players. Baccarat winnings on the Strip of $124.4 million jumped nearly 32 percent, or $29.9 million, as the volume wagered reached $1 billion, an increase of $237.6 million, said Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the control board.

“Baccarat had a great month,” Lawton said.

In baccarat, gamblers are dealt two cards and predict whether they will beat the banker, typically a position that rotates among the players at the table. At high-end resorts, baccarat games held in posh, secluded gambling salons can start out at a minimum $10,000 per hand.

Excluding baccarat, the statewide casino win would have been down 7 percent, or $55.6 million, and Strip results would have fallen 9 percent, or $30 million.

But while baccarat winnings were strong, slot machine wins fell 7.8 percent statewide and 9.1 percent on the Strip, the report said.

“Customer spending continues to be flat at best on slots,” Lawton said.

The “win” is what was left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $11.2 billion in August playing cards, table games and slot machines. A breakdown shows $8.7 billion was bet statewide at slot and video machines and $2.5 billion on table games, including baccarat.

Elsewhere, downtown Las Vegas revenues of $36 million were down 8.4 percent, while Boulder Strip revenues of $56 million were down 17.7 percent.

Washoe County winnings of $68 million were up 5 percent, while south Lake Tahoe winnings of $22 million were down 19.5 percent.

Nevada collected $49.6 million in casino taxes in September, based on the August winnings. That’s up 5.2 percent from a year ago. Tax collections do not necessarily mirror increases or declines in the casino win because a lot of betting is done on credit, and casinos do not pay taxes on those winnings until debts are paid.

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