Casinos set new revenue record

Jul 17, 2007 3:16 AM

By GT STAFF

Nevada casinos won $1.14 billion from gamblers in May — the most in any single month — for a 1.5 percent gain compared with the same month a year ago.

The state Gaming Control Board reported last week that the win, about $2 million higher than the previous record win for a month that was set in January 2006, occurred despite a slump in baccarat winnings.

"This could have been a little stronger but the casinos took a hit on baccarat," Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said.

Gov. Jim Gibbons said that along with the record win for casinos the state saw an increase of 16.4 percent in its percentage fee collections from resorts, which enabled the state to end its fiscal-year collections from the casinos slightly ahead of earlier projections.

"Nevada’s gaming and tourism markets continue to demonstrate tremendous strength as we report another record month of gaming win," Gibbons said in a statement.

The statewide win of $1.14 billion was the amount left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $14.7 billion during May. That included $11.8 billion bet in slot machine games and the rest on table games.

A breakdown of the statewide win for May showed that slots accounted for about $762 million of the total.

Reflecting the changing mix of machines on the casino floor, he slot total included $319.2 million won by multi-denomination games, up 3.6 percent.

Penny slots were second with a win of $143.6 million, up 31 percent. Also noteworthy is penny slots’ "hold" percentage — 10.6 percent — the most for any denomination machine. Overall, slots held about 6.5 percent of all money played into them.

Another indicator of the changing nature of slots is the slide of quarter denomination games. Once the foundation of the casino’s slot floor, quarter slots raked only $103.5 million from players in May, an 11.6 percent slide from last year.

Live games, including poker, accounted for the balance of the $1.14 billion May total. That included $134.3 million won on blackjack tables, up 5.1 percent; $40.8 million on craps, up 19.8 percent; and $37.2 million on roulette, up 15.1 percent.

The win on baccarat was $71.2 million, down 18.2 percent; and the win on mini-baccarat was $13 million, down about 54 percent.

Race and sports books had a solid May, fueled by the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown races, as well as increasing betting action on baseball.

Race books won $10.5 million in May, a 6.7 percent increase over 2006 totals. Sports books won $5.8 million in May, up 479 percent, most of which, $3 million, came from baseball bettors.

Nevada’s poker rooms, though seeming to slow down in recent months, still had a solid May as games won $14.1 million, up 6.5 percent.

Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip reported a 1.4 percent gain while downtown Las Vegas casinos were up 0.3 percent in May. Increases also were reported in Mesquite, the Boulder Strip, Sparks and Stateline, on Lake Tahoe’s south shore.

The state collected $83.3 million in percentage fees based on the May win. That was up 16.4 percent compared with the fees collected for the same month in 2006. Total fiscal-year collections hit $821 million, up 3.4 percent.

"Win" is a gross figure, with no operating costs or other expenses deducted. It represents casino revenue only, not hotel, restaurant or bar revenues.