After three straight months of increases, gaming win fell 6.1 percent in August, and the reason was baccarat.
The total $886.8 million in win was $57.6 million less than the previous August. Of the $57.6 million drop, $47.5 million was because of reduced baccarat win on the Las Vegas Strip. The Strip was down 8.7 percent in August to $496.8 million.
According to Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton, it wasn't that August's baccarat numbers were bad. It's that they were comparing to August 2010. That month had the second-highest Baccarat win in state history - $160.5 million.
This past August had a much more normal Baccarat win, $96.4
"Without baccarat, it was basically flat," he said.
Nearly every reporting area in the state reported a decline in win. The big exception was South Lake Tahoe, which saw a 16.2 percent increase to $27.2 million. On the heels of July's 25.4 percent increase, that puts the Stateline casinos up for the calendar year - the first time in several years.
While South Lake Tahoe's slot win was up only 3.1 percent, game and table win jumped 74 percent - mostly because of a 200 percent increase in win from blackjack tables. The reason had less to do with the total amount wagered than a near doubling of the percentage casinos kept, to 20 percent. And Lawton said August was up against a tough comparison since August 2010 had an 18.5 percent increase.
In fact, four of the past five months have been double-digit increases in South Tahoe.
North Shore casinos at Crystal Bay saw just the opposite happen: Game and table hold percentages dropped from more than 17 percent to just 12 percent. The result was an 18.9 percent decline in total win to $2.7 million.
The Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County, didn't fare as well, reporting a 5.9 percent decrease to $8.78 million - a difference of $552,000. Slot win and the amount wagered were both down in Carson. Two months into the fiscal year, Carson is down by more than 4 percent. But for the calendar year, Carson Valley casinos are actually up 1.6 percent.
Churchill County had a good month, reporting an 8.38 percent increase in total win to $1.72 million. Slot win, which accounted for $1.66 million of that, was up 9.26 percent. Game win was down 18 percent to more than $44,000.
Washoe County suffered a 9.5 percent decrease in total win, mostly because of the 11 percent drop in Reno. The total for the county was $64.7 million. Reno's share was $46.7 million of that.
"Reno got killed at the tables," said Lawton, pointing to a 29 percent decrease in game and table win.
After South Shore and tiny Churchill County, the only reporting areas that were up compared to August 2010 were the Boulder Strip, which reported a 3.28 percent increase to $67.6 million, and the catchall "other," up to 3.65 percent with $12.6 million.