Nevada gambling winnings up 1.4 percent in May

The house was luckier than the players in May, when Nevada casinos won $897.2 million from gamblers to post a 1.4 percent increase in winnings compared with the same month a year ago, state gambling regulators reported Thursday.

The May winnings pushed the fiscal year-to-date total to more than $10 billion, or 2.4 percent more than last year.

Once again, baccarat, a high-roller game, had a big influence on the overall state gambling win.

The $93.1 million won by casinos was up 25.4 percent compared to May 2012, said Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

While the $835.3 million wagered on baccarat was down $81 million, or nearly 9 percent from a year ago, the win percentage for casinos was 11.14 percent, much better than the 8.1 percent in the same month a year ago.

“Volumes weren’t as strong but the results were driven by a much better hold percentage,” Lawton said. “The house had a good month.”

Excluding baccarat, the statewide casino win would have been down 8.2 percent.

Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, the state’s gambling mecca, posted a 6.4 percent monthly gain. Strip casinos reported winnings of $505.4 million, up from $475 million in May 2012.

Special events held during that month, including a Rolling Stones concert, Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson Immortal show, and two boxing matches helped bolster casino action on the Strip, Lawton said.

Casinos in Reno won $49.9 million, representing a 9.7 percent increase that was fueled by a months-long men’s and women’s national bowling tournaments taking place. For Washoe County as a whole, winnings rose 7.9 percent, marking that region’s third consecutive month of gains for the first time since April-June of 2006, Lawton said.

The “win” is the take casinos kept after players wagered $12.5 billion on card and table games, and slot and video gambling machines. A breakdown shows the $2.5 billion bet on card and table games was down $188.3 million or 7 percent. Slot machine bets totaled $9 billion, down a scant 0.05 percent or $4.2 million compared with May 2012, Lawton said.

Taxes collected in June on the May win totaled $57.5 million, an increase of 10.9 percent. Declines or increases in winnings and taxes do not always correlate because wagers made on credit are not taxed until the bets are paid off.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, tax collections totaled $678.7 million, up 3.8 percent over last year. Collections came in at $6.3 million or 1 percent above projections made in May by the Economic Forum, an independent panel that forecasts state revenues on which the general fund budget is based.


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