Nev. gambling revenue down 4.8 percent in June

Aug 5, 2013 8:41 AM

Nevada gambling revenues fell 4.8 percent in June compared with the same month a year earlier, largely due to the absence of special events that draw high rollers to the Las Vegas Strip and bettors being luckier than the house, state regulators reported Friday.

Casinos statewide won $792.5 million from gamblers in June, down from $832.5 million collected in June 2012 — when gamblers packed the Las Vegas Strip for a boxing bout between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley.

Once again, baccarat, a high-roller game favored by Asian gamblers, affected the monthly revenue outcome.

The $700 million wagered on baccarat was down $134.5 million or 16.1 percent, and baccarat players had a better month than the house, said Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

“It was kind of a double whammy,” Lawton said.

The $52.1 million casinos won from baccarat play was down $51 million, or nearly 50 percent, compared with June 2012. Excluding baccarat, the total statewide win would have posted a 1.5 percent gain.

Las Vegas Strip winnings of $435 million in June were down 10 percent year-over-year, or $49 million.

But the situation was the opposite a little further down the road: Downtown Las Vegas winnings of $37 million were up 9 percent.

Reno casino revenue totaled $49 million in June, down about 3 percent. South Lake Tahoe winnings of $13 million dropped 24 percent.

The state collected $43 million in taxes based on the June winnings, which was up 13 percent from the prior year. Collections and revenues do not always correlate because a lot of bets are made on credit. Casinos don’t pay taxes on those winnings until the debts are paid.

The “win” is what was left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $10.8 billion. A statewide breakdown shows $8.5 billion was plucked into slot and video poker, while $2.3 billion was bet on card and table games.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, casinos won $10.9 billion, an increase of 1.8 percent.

“This is the state’s third consecutive fiscal year increase after three consecutive declines,” Lawton said.

Gamblers wagered a combined $138.3 billion, a 1 percent drop from the previous year and nearly 19 percent below the peak $170.4 billion wagered in 2007 before the recession.

Baccarat winnings for the year totaled $1.4 billion, up 13.6 percent and marking the fourth straight year the game surpassed blackjack as biggest single-game revenue generator after bettors wagered $11.3 billion. Both the volume of play and the amount won by casinos were records.

“It was definitely a baccarat-driven fiscal year,” Lawton said.

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