Bad luck, missing Sunday keep casino revenue flat
The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS — Bad luck with craps and baccarat, plus a missing Sunday, kept Nevada casino revenue flat in April.
Silver State casinos won $854.3 million in April, a 0.16 percent decline from the same time last year, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Monday. The state collected $47.2 million in taxes on that haul, a 2.8 percent drop from last April.
The month’s decline was driven by a 2.3 percent drop-off on the Las Vegas Strip. But the glittery main drag — which welcomed the five-story megaclub Hakkasan in April— is still ahead 5 percent for the fiscal year.
Reno raked in 15 percent more casino revenue in April than last year. Across the state, table game revenue fell by $9.4 million in April.
Craps led the losses. Revenue from the dice game was down 33 percent in April, with casinos keeping about 11 percent of the money wagered.
But slot winning mostly offset the table game decline. Gamblers poured $8.9 billion into the noisy, flashing machines in April, and casinos kept nearly 7 percent of that, increasing their winnings by $8 million over the previous year.
State analysts had expected the April win report to be lackluster compared with April 2012, a particularly strong month with an extra Sunday and a 15 percent jump in baccarat winnings helping spur a 6 percent revenue surge.
“We knew this month going in we were facing a tough comparison,” said Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the state Gaming Control Board. He expects May and June to be easier comparisons.
Despite the weak month, the Nevada casino industry continues to claw its way back from the recession. Overall winnings are up 2.4 percent for the year, and revenue on the Strip is up 5 percent.
Baccarat continues to power Nevada’s casino industry, thanks in part to the increase of serious Asian gamblers here. A volatile game where gamblers are dealt two cards and predict whether they will beat the banker, Baccarat has become a staple at high end resorts, where they are held in secluded gambling salons and can start out a minimum of $10,000 per hand.
Last year, Nevada casinos won $1.37 billion from baccarat players, with the game offered in 25 casinos. Blackjack, by comparison, pulled in slightly less than $1 billion even though it was offered in five times as many properties.
Casino winnings from the game dipped in April but remain up 18.8 percent fiscal year to date.