Casinos rake $1 billion

Jun 12, 2007 4:15 AM

Nevada casinos won a record $1.05 billion from gamblers in April, 6.4 percent more than a year earlier, the state Gaming Control Board reported last week.

Las Vegas Strip casinos won $529.2 million, up 2.4 percent from April 2006, while downtown Las Vegas casinos won 8 percent more at $56.5 million, the first increase in that market in the last 11 months.

Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the Control Board, said the statewide increase was stronger than expected.

”˜”˜We knew going into the month there was an unfavorable calendar with one less weekend day,’’ he said, noting more revenue is generated on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays than other days. ”˜”˜Figures were stronger than expected without any major special events.’’

Fueling the record gains were slot machine revenues, which surged 11.4 percent to $736.4 million, partially because winnings from the last weekend of March slid into April, Streshley said.

Heavy slot action also reversed a trend — at least temporarily — in which table games have been increasing its share of the revenue pie.

In the first quarter of 2007, table games accounted for 34.1 percent of all gaming revenue while slots accounted for 64.5 percent.

In April, slots generated 69.9 percent of all gaming win while tables generated 28.8 percent.

The hottest machines, in terms of amount won, were penny slots, which generated $137 million, a 42.3 percent increase over April 2006, and multi-denomination slots, which won $310 million from gamblers, a 12.5 percent increase over last year.

Among the table games, money won from high-end baccarat rose 8.2 percent to $60.4 million, while blackjack win fell 2.9 percent to $109.5 million.

Other winning table games were roulette, up 13.1 percent to $27.4 million, and craps, up 2.1 percent to $36.3 million.

Nevada’s poker rooms raked $13.3 million from players, a 4.8 percent increase over a year ago.

The state’s sports books continue to languish while waiting for the lucrative football season to arrive. In April, the books won a mere $2.6 million from bettors, a 70.8 percent slide from April 2006.

Basketball continues to disappoint as the books actually lost $2.6 million to players, a whopping 179 percent reversal from the previous year.

Offering a brief glimmer of hope was the first full month of baseball betting action, which generated $6.1 million in revenue, a solid 23 percent over last year.

As noted, gains at downtown casinos reversed a nearly one-year slide. The Vegas Grand Prix held April 6-8 helped lift the beleaguered downtown Las Vegas market, which was still down 4.4 percent for the fiscal year that starts in July.

Casino win in Washoe County, which includes Reno and Sparks, fell 0.7 percent to $88.6 million.

”˜”˜April’s gaming numbers were solid and mark a return to positive growth following soft results over the past several months,’’ Gov. Jim Gibbons said in a statement. ”˜”˜We are looking for a strong finish to the state’s fiscal year.’’

State regulators predicted May numbers should also beat last year’s. High volume gaming surrounded May events such as the Oscar de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight and the Ultimate Fighting Championship bout between Chuck Lidell and Quinton Jackson.

Gaming "win" is a gross figure, with no operating costs or other expenses deducted, and represents the amount kept at the casino after wagering is complete. It represents casino revenue only — not hotel, entertainment, restaurant or bar revenues.

Here is a breakdown of gaming win around the state:

NEVADA GAMING WIN

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STATEWIDE:

$1.05 billion

up 6.4 percent.

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LAS VEGAS STRIP:

$529.2 million

up 2.4 percent.

”¡

BOULDER STRIP:

$83 million

up 14.7 percent.

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RENO:

$64.6 million

down 2 percent.

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LAUGHLIN:

$57 million

up 6.2 percent.

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DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS:

$56.5 million

up 8 percent.

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NORTH LAS VEGAS:

$28.2 million

up 24.4 percent.

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ELKO COUNTY:

$25.5 million

up 10.8 percent.

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STATELINE:

$21.7 million

down 24.5 percent.

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SPARKS:

$14.5 million

up 2.3 percent.

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CARSON-GARDNERVILLE-MINDEN:

$9 million

down 9.8 percent.

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NORTH TAHOE:

$3.1 million

up 4.2 percent.

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CHURCHILL:

$2 million

up 3.2 percent.