Churchill County gaming stumbles, falls 2.1% from 2015

Nevada’s nonrestricted casino licensees raked in $11.1 billion in 2015.

That is just under a percent more than casinos won in 2014 and the fifth year-over-year increase in the past six years.

One of the largest increases was reported by the Carson Valley market, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital. Carson Valley was up 4 percent to a total of $100.8 million on the year. It’s the market’s first annual increase in a decade.

Of that total, $94.3 million was in slot win with just $6.5 million coming from table games.

The only markets that were down were North Shore and South Shore casinos at Lake Tahoe and, unfortunately, the Las Vegas Strip which was off four-tenths compared to 2014. Total win on the Strip was $6.35 billion.

Downtown Las Vegas casino revenue was up 5.9 percent last year to $542 million.

“A lot more people are going down there,” Lawton said about downtown, pointing to revitalization efforts led in large part by CEO Tony Hsieh. “Properties down there have done a good job figuring how to get the critical mass in the casino.”

North Shore casinos saw the largest percentage decline at 3.1 percent. Casinos there won a total of $24.8 million. That area has had only two years in which total win was up compared to the prior year in the last decade.

Washoe County was also among the top markets for growth in 2015, collecting a total of $776.4 million — a 3.2 percent increase over the previous year. That’s Washoe’s largest total win since 2009.

South Lake Tahoe casinos at Stateline won a total of $205.7 million in 2015, down seven-tenths of a percent compared to 2014. That’s the market’s third consecutive decrease. South Shore has seen only three annual increases in the past 15 years, according to Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton.

Churchill County reported total win of $19.8 million over the year. That’s 2.1 percent down from the previous year. All but $670,000 of that total came from slot play. But table games contributed to the damage, falling 9.9 percent compared with calendar 2014.

Statewide, slot win increased 3.8 percent in 2015, but game and table win fell just under 3.8 percent, primarily because of the decline in Baccarat play. In large part, that’s attributable to the Chinese government’s restrictions on those taking large amounts of cash out of the country, which has significantly reduced high roller play in Las Vegas.

As a result, Baccarat win came in at $1.3 billion — more than 14 percent less than in 2014.

Blackjack, however, increased 3 percent to $1.1 billion. That’s the largest total win for that game since 2008.

Sports books had another banner year, winning $231.8 million. That’s up 2.1 percent and, just like the previous five years, an all-time record.

Despite the attention on Baccarat, slot win is still king. The machines brought in $7 billion of the $11.1 billion total, 63 percent of the total statewide win.

Altogether, $138.4 billion was wagered in Nevada during 2015, $106.7 billion on slots and $31.8 billion on table games.

Lawton said he’s optimistic for the coming year because of the continued recovery of the nation’s economy.

“We feel pretty good about calendar year 2016,” he said.


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