May gaming win sees largest increase since 2006: Western Nevada doesn't share in good news

Nevada casinos reported a whopping 16.2 percent increase in winnings for May.

The $984 million total is the largest monthly win since September 2008 and the largest percentage increase since December 2006.

Statewide, the biggest reason for the jump was Baccarat play, which contributed $142.8 million of the total $373.4 million in game and table win. The Manny Pacquiao/Shane Mosley boxing match, was a big draw for high rollers.

Slot win also increased 6 percent to $599.6 million. Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton said the positive sign there was the third consecutive monthly increase in slot volume on the Las Vegas Strip - the first time that has happened since the summer of 2007. That total also got a boost from the fact April ended on a weekend - meaning the slot revenue from that weekend was included in the May report.

As a result, total win on the Strip increased 29 percent over the same month last year to a total of $580.4 million.

Northern and western Nevada didn't fare so well. Reno was down 7.7 percent to $46.5 million. Reno hasn't seen a positive month this year and Washoe County - down 6.6 percent in May - has now seen seven consecutive declines.

"The volume wasn't there," said Lawton. "May weather was not good. Memorial Day weekend it was freezing."

Likewise, the Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County, was off 2.16 percent in May to $9.1 million. The culprit was slot volume, which dipped more than 5 percent.

In Churchill County, total win increased 4.53 percent to $1,777,000 in May. Total game win jumped 43 percent. Race and sports book winnings as well as other games were all up substantially, generating more than $61,000.

The vast majority of gaming win in Churchill comes from slots, which were up 3.7 percent to a bit to more than $1.7 million.

South Lake Tahoe, however, had its first consecutive win increase since July/August of 2008, reporting $18.25 million in win. The area was up 15 percent in April.

But Lawton pointed out it was an easy comparison since the South Shore casinos were down 12.5 percent last May. The bulk of the $2.6 million increase came from the "other games category," which, at Tahoe, includes Baccarat. Specifics aren't available for that market.

North Lake Tahoe casinos reported a 2.8 percent increase in win to $2 million. Again, it was an easy comparison since North Shore suffered a 10 percent drop in May 2010. Slot win was up 5.3 percent for the month, an increase of $78,000.

Percentage fee collections from gaming increased 17.6 percent for the May business period. The state brought in a total of $68.3 million. Year to date, gaming revenue is up 3.3 percent over last year to $651.8 million.


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