State's July gaming win up 17 percent

For only the second time this calendar year, the state's total gambling win topped $1 billion. A strong month of July on the Las Vegas strip caused the rebound.

Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton said Baccarat players lost the third highest total amount in history - a whopping $189.9 million, which is up 112 percent and more than $100 million over July 2011. Nearly all of that play is on the Strip, which reported a 27.5 percent increase in its win for the month.

"The house was running pretty hot this month," Lawton said.

The "win" is what was left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $11.7 billion in July playing cards, table games and slot machines. A breakdown shows $8.9 billion was bet at slot and video machines and $2.8 billion on table games.

Driven by that, total win was $1,005,876,336 - an increase of 16.95 percent, or $145.8 million.

Lawton said experts expected the January win to top $1 billion because of New Year's, but the total in July came as a surprise, especially since the month had one less Friday/Saturday and July 4 fell on a Wednesday, cutting into visitation.

Before January, the last billion-plus month was in 2008.

Even without Baccarat, Lawton said it was a good month. Statewide total win - not including Baccarat - was up 5.9 percent, or $46.9 million.

"Obviously, Baccarat is driving our calendar year increase so far," Lawton said.

Northern markets didn't share in the success. The Carson Valley Area, South Lake Tahoe and Washoe County markets all fell compared to the previous July.

Carson Valley, which includes valley portions of Douglas County, reported flat numbers - down just less than two-tenths of a percent to $8.7 million. That is a difference of just $17,000.

Of that, games accounted for just $575,000; the rest came from slot play. There are just 61 table games and race-sports books in seven Carson Valley locations.

South Lake Tahoe casinos at Stateline reported a decrease of six-tenths to $29.6 million, but Lawton said those casinos were up against a tough comparison since the previous July reported a 25.4 percent increase over July 2010. Games win was off $714,000, but he said slots nearly erased that with a $543,000 increase.

Washoe County reported decreases in Reno (9.5 percent) Sparks (5.7 percent) and the balance of county (9.8 percent). Total Washoe win was $64.9 million, and Lawton said the problem is that tourists increasingly are siphoned off by Indian casinos over the hill in California.

The only positive reports in the north were in the small North Shore of Lake Tahoe and Churchill County markets.

North Shore reported $3.58 million in winnings, a 5.3 percent increase. The difference there was a 54 percent increase in games win to $1.13 million, which more than offset an 8 percent decrease in slot win.

In Churchill County, a 1.4 percent increase in slot win was augmented by a 24.4 percent increase in games win. But since games win accounted for just $38,000 of the total compared to $1.63 million in slot win, the contribution only increased the overall percentage to 1.65 and the win to $1.66 million. There are just 13 games including sports pools at five Churchill casinos.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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