Nevada win tops $1 billion

Oct 17, 2006 6:03 AM

Casino gaming revenue in Nevada topped $1 billion in August as it rose 7.5% from the same period a year earlier, the state Gaming Control Board reported last week.

The increase was fueled in large part to a 14.3% increase in gaming revenue along the Las Vegas Strip, which typically accounts for more than half of the statewide total.

Statewide gaming revenue increased to $1.06 billion from $989.05 million a year earlier. The Strip alone saw gaming revenue increase to $556.29 million from $486.64 million last year.

A closer look at the numbers reveals that Strip casinos took in $75.7 million from baccarat tables, 113 percent more than last year. Craps and roulette also enjoyed double-digit increases while blackjack win increased nearly 8 percent.

Among slot machines, penny denomination slots generated $118 million in August, a 37 % increase over last August’s revenue. Not only was the win the largest gainer in Nevada, its "hold" of 10.4 percent was highest among Nevada machines.

Nevada sports books won a mere $3.4 million from bettors, a 42% drop from the $6 million it won last August. The big hit came from baseball bettors, who risked more than $74 million at the windows, but ended up winning a whopping 98.9% of their bets. The 1.12 percent hold was 76% below than the hold last August.

Sports directors said August was huge for Southern California baseball fans, who rode the Dodgers amazing winning streak after the All Star Break. During the streak, the Dodgers won an astounding 17 of 18 games.

Nevada’s race books raked in $8.8 million from pari-mutuel operations, which was a 7% slide from a year ago.

In fact, the decline in pari-mutuel handle was the fifth straight month of such declines.

Coupled with non-pari-mutuel revenue and expenditures, such as dog races, twin Q’s and the like, race books in Nevada generated $7.8 million in revenue, an 18% slide from August 2005.

Despite the continuing decline in pari-mutuel revenue, most race book directors were neither concerned nor worried.

"We actually haven’t seen any drop-off," said Rich Baccilierri, race and sports director at the Palms. "We continue to grow a little each month. Nothing spectacular either way, but steady growth."

Declining pari-mutuel revenue is most likely a reflection of a national trend in declining interest in horse racing.

The National Thoroughbred Association reported that overall wagering in the U.S. in third quarter of 2006 dropped by nearly $7 million compared to the same period a year ago.