Gaming win falls a bit in August

Gaming win dipped slightly in August but more because of what happened in 2011 than anything to do with the current economy.

According to Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton, July 2011 finished on a weekend so more than $43 million in revenue from that month was actually reported in August.

That issue made this past August look like total win dropped 3.1 percent.

Lawton said when July-August of this year is compared with July-August of 2011, the gaming numbers were flat, neither up nor down.

Total win in August was $859.24 million. In all, because of that calendar issue, 13 of the state's 16 reporting areas were down compared to the previous August - including the Carson Valley area. Win there, which includes not only the capital's casinos but valley portions of Douglas County, was $8.65 million - 1.7 percent down. He said the problem was a lack of players. Both slot and game-table volumes were down from a year ago.

The "win" is what was left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $11.2 billion in August playing cards, table games and slot machines. A breakdown shows $8.7 billion was bet statewide at slot and video machines and $2.5 billion on table games, including baccarat.

The major exception to that was North Lake Tahoe where win jumped 18.4 percent to $3.26 million. Lawton said north shore was up against a very easy comparison since win dropped 18.9 percent in August 2011.

Nonetheless, that area's casinos have now reported three consecutive months of gains compared to the same months last year.

Churchill County casinos reported a 4.86 percent decline in total win to $1.64 million. Games win was down 18.2 percent but games make up just a tiny portion of that county's totals - about $36,000 for the month.

Lawton said when baccarat is subtracted from the totals, calendar year to date win is actually down significantly this year. The volume of slot machine play, the key mass market indicator, has declined five straight months after 11 of 13 months of increases, apparently because of shaky consumer confidence in the economic recovery.

"Baccarat is picking up the slack we're seeing in the mass market," Lawton said.

Just the opposite was true at Stateline's casinos at the south shore of Tahoe where total win fell 19.45 percent to just over $22 million. He said it was partly because of a really though comparison with August 2011 when south shore reported an increase of more than 16 percent.

Not just north shore but every reporting area in Washoe County was up in August as the county reported an overall increase of more than 5 percent. Total win was $68.1 million when Reno, Sparks, north shore and the balance of county casinos are added together. Lawton said the Reno area simply had more customers this August, when Hot August Nights occurs, than a year ago.

The strip reported $490.9 million in winnings, a 1.19 percent decline. North Las Vegas and the Boulder Strip were both down double digits.

The state collected $49.6 million in revenues in September, bringing total collections for fiscal 2013 to $155.4 million. That is 5 percent higher than the same period of fiscal 2012. Tax collections don't correlate with increases or declines in the casino win because a lot of betting is done on credit, and casinos do not pay taxes on those winnings until debts are paid.

Area August Win Percentage Change

Statewide $859.24 million -3.11%

Carson Valley $8.65 million -1.71%

South Shore $22.02 million -19.45%

North Shore $3.26 million 18.37%

Washoe County $68.08 million 5.13%

Reno $48.85 million 4.66%

Clark County $727 million -3.35%

The Strip $490.94 million -1.19%


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