Total gaming win dipped 2.76 percent to $884.2 million in January and the primary problem was that bettors did better than average — especially in the Tahoe Basin.
Statewide, “we had good volume; we just didn’t hold well,” said Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton.
Lawton said that in Baccarat, volume of betting was $913 million, $104 million more than the same month a year ago. But the percentage of bets the casino kept was down to just under 9 percent, compared with more than 12 percent in 2013.
Similarly, slot volume statewide was up $268 million, but the win was down nearly $30 million to $567 million.
The decreases were much more dramatic in the Tahoe Basin, with North Shore casinos reporting a decrease of more than 18 percent and South Shore casinos a drop of nearly 12.5 percent.
At North Lake Tahoe, Lawton said, game and table win was down 34.7 percent and the story was all “21,” which was down more than 63 percent — $238,000 — because the casinos kept just 9 percent of bets compared with 20.9 percent a year ago. Although North Shore is primarily a slots market, the machines didn’t help in January. Win there was down 10.1 percent for the month.
South Shore casinos at Stateline had a similar story to tell. Game and table win there fell sharply because of a 83.6 percent, or $2.5 million, decrease in the euphemistically named “other games” category. At Tahoe, “other games” includes Baccarat. The rest of South Shore’s game and table decrease was caused by “21,” which was down 59 percent. According to Lawton, the story was both the hold percentage and volume of play, both of which were below a year ago.
The Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, was down as well, but only by 1 percent to $7.29 million for the month. Lawton said play and win were off a bit despite the fact this January had an extra Friday.
Game and table win was actually up 8.6 percent, but that total of $352,000 is only a tiny piece of Carson Valley’s total win. The increase was erased by the 1.5 percent dip in slot win to $6.87 million, creating an overall decrease of just $74,000.
Washoe County was down just over 1 percent in January, but Lawton said that’s good when you consider that the Safari Club closed and visitation was down.
“They replaced those convention rooms with casino rooms,” he said.
Gaming win in Churchill County was up in January, but only by four-tenths of a percent to $1.69 million. Total games win, although small compared with slot win, was up 24.96 percent to $71,000. Slot play, as in Carson Valley, was down a bit but by just under six-tenths of a percent.
For the fiscal year through January, gaming win is 3.38 percent ahead of the same period last year.
The state collected just over $69 million in percentage fees during the month of February based on January taxable revenues.