June swoon for Nevada machines

August 14, 2007 6:50 AM
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Nevada casinos enjoyed a solid June, no thanks to the state’s slot machines, which continue to post lackluster revenue figures.

Nevada casinos won $959.8 million from gamblers in June, 5.7 percent more than in June 2006, despite slot revenue that dipped 3.5 percent to $630.1 million, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board.

"What were seeing in the first half of the calendar year is that things have really slowed down, definitely on the slot side," said Frank Streshley, the Control Board’s senior research analyst. "I think we’ll see this trend continue over the next six months as well."

Making up for lukewarm slot and sports book revenue were Nevada’s table games, which won nearly $312 million from players, a stellar 28.6 percent increase over June 2006.

The pits’ biggest winners were blackjack ($117.9 million, up 40 percent), roulette ($36.7 million, up 59.6 percent), craps ($34.2 million, up 10 percent) and mini-baccarat ($12.2 million, up 403 percent).

Other games that enjoyed solid increases include Three Card Poker (7 percent), Let it Ride (14 percent), Pai Gow (75 percent) and Pai Gow Poker (12 percent).

The baccarat tables raked in $44.3 million, which was down 1 percent from last June’s figures.

The state’s poker rooms were bustling, fueled with plenty of World Series of Poker players, who contributed $17.6 million, a solid 41 percent increase over June 2006.

Nevada sports books, while enjoying a solid month against baseball bettors ($7.6 million won with a "hold" percentage of more than 8 percent, up 69 percent from June 2006), had overall revenues of only $7.3 million, 35 percent less than a year ago.

The reason for the slide was losses against Arena Football and NBA playoff bettors, who took the books for nearly $1.2 million in June.

While slot revenue in the state has flattened, table games have continued a trend reported earlier this year — the tables’ portion of overall revenue has increased while slots have decreased.

Over the past two years, table games have increased their share of Nevada gaming win from 31.8 percent to 32.9 percent of the total, while slots’ portion has slipped from 67.2 percent to 65.8 percent.

That trend has continued into 2007, as the first quarter revenue for table games was 34.1 percent of the total and slots’ share was down to 64.5 percent.

Regionally, the Las Vegas Strip helped boost the state’s figures during the month, which saw decreases through much of Clark County. The table game win on the Strip was up 38.4 percent, which helped make up for a decrease in slot machine win of 4.2 percent.

Strip casinos had collective gaming revenues of $500 million during June, a 13.3 percent increase from $441.4 million in June 2006. Streshley said the figure was even more impressive considering the now-closed Stardust was still open in June of last year.

"With no major special events on the calendar and factor in the Stardust closing, this was an exceptionally strong month, " Streshley said. "There were no major new property openings in the fiscal year and we’re not going to see another new opening until late this year."

The opening referred to is the $1.6 billion Palazzo,.

While Strip casinos had a solid June, local casinos had a lackluster month. The biggest decline occurred in North Las Vegas, where casinos’ gaming win was down 13.8 percent. Action on the Boulder Strip was down 2.9 percent, while casinos in downtown Las Vegas reported a 1.9 percent slide, which followed two months of increases.