Nevada gambling revenues up 1.8 percent in October

Dec 10, 2012 9:56 AM

Nevada gambling revenues rose 1.8 percent in October compared with the same month a year ago, continuing a slow but fickle upward slog, state regulators reported Friday.

Casinos statewide won $978.8 million from gamblers during the month, on which the state collected $54.5 million. The revenues were up nearly 17 percent from October 2011 and 6 percent for the first five months of the fiscal year.

October’s result followed 3.3 percent gains in September and marked the second monthly increase for gambling wins in Nevada. Taxes paid by casinos on their winnings account for about a quarter of all state general fund revenues.

Las Vegas Strip casinos reaped $580.7 million, up 3.6 percent in October. Strip results were helped by Madonna, who performed two nights at the MGM, and baccarat tournaments that drew high-roller gamblers, said Mike Lawton, senior analyst at the Gaming Control Board.

Downtown casino kept $48.6 million, up just under 1 percent. Strip resorts account for half of all statewide gambling totals.

Reno casino revenues of $42.6 million were down nearly 7 percent, while South Lake Tahoe’s $15.8 million was flat, up just 0.8 percent. Elsewhere, Elko County fell 2.1 percent and the Carson City area dropped 5.5 percent.

The “win” is what was left in casino coffers after gamblers in October wagered $11.5 billion on table games, slot and video poker machines. A breakdown shows the $2.8 billion bet by gamblers on table games was up $18.9 million, or 0.7 percent, while slot volume of $8.9 billion was down $402 million, or 4.3 percent from October 2011.

Baccarat increasingly has been carrying Nevada’s casino winnings after the recession. A volatile game, 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.

In October, baccarat wagers of $883.8 million were up $41.2 million or nearly 5 percent from the same month last year, Lawton said. But gamblers had a better month against the house, and the casino win of $129.5 million was down $28.7 million, or 28.7 percent.

Taking baccarat out of the equation for the Strip, betting action on other table games and slots is down 2.2 percent for the month and 3.4 percent of the fiscal year.

“We’re definitely being helped out by the high-end play,” Lawton said.

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