Luck was definitely on the house’s side in January as Nevada casinos benefited from the timing of the Chinese New Year and won just over $1 billion from gamblers.
The amount represents a 12 percent increase compared with a year earlier, when casinos reported a “gaming win” of $925 million, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Tuesday.
January’s results marked the second time in seven months that casinos hit the $1 billion benchmark and the largest amount recorded since February 2013.
“It’s a good month,” Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the control board, said. “But I’m not going to say that we are going to be seeing a billion-dollar win every month.”
The Chinese New Year began at the end of January. The holiday traditionally draws crowds of Asian gamblers, and casinos cater to them, with some altering their decor and offering special shows and events.
Casino winnings for baccarat, a volatile, high-roller game favored by Asian players, was also a big factor in January’s increase with a statewide win of nearly $158 million, up 55 percent over the year-ago period.
“It was a very good month for baccarat,” Lawton said.
Downtown Las Vegas casinos saw a whopping 32 percent increase in casino gambling revenue in January compared with a year earlier. The area’s $55.5 million win was influenced in part by the opening of the Chinese-themed Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino, which has a casino floor spanning 27,000 square feet.
Casinos in the Las Vegas Strip made almost $609 million, which represents an increase of nearly 26 percent. Meanwhile, North Lake Tahoe casinos lost almost 30 percent, and Elko County casinos posted a 12.7 percent loss during the same period.
The report says that for the first seven months of the current fiscal year, casino winnings are up 3.8 percent. Collectively, casinos have won $6.7 billion this fiscal year.
The state collected $75.2 million in percentage fees based on taxable revenues generated in January, a decrease of 8 percent year-over-year. The amount adds up to $460.2 million during the fiscal year.
Tax collections and casino winning do not always mirror each other because a lot of casino betting is done on credit, and taxes aren’t due until gamblers make good on their debt.