January gaming win tops $1B | NevadaAppeal.com

January gaming win tops $1B

January’s statewide gaming win topped $1 billion for the first time since September 2008 – 40 months ago.

That is an 18.4 percent increase over January 2011.

But it was all about Southern Nevada as most northern markets were actually down compared with a year ago. Every southern market was up and a key reason was that, unlike a year ago, Chinese New Year was in January instead of February. That drew huge high-end play – especially on the Baccarat tables where total win was up just shy of 200 percent to $194.8 million on total bets of $1.6 billion. That is the second-highest total ever for that game both on the Las Vegas Strip and statewide.

While slot win was essentially flat, game and table win was up 50 percent to a total of $435.5 million.

Clark County was up 21.6 percent to $925.5 million driven by a 29 percent gain on the Las Vegas Strip.

Northern markets with only a couple of exceptions didn’t share in the southern gains. Washoe County markets were down 6.2 percent to $53.7 million largely because of the 8.6 percent decrease in Reno.

The Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as Carson City, was down 3.7 percent to $7.78 million. North Lake Tahoe was down 4.16 percent to $1.9 million. Carson Valley, however, faced a tough comparison because January 2011 was up 10.5 percent from the previous year.

Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton said most of the northern problem was volume. Northern markets just didn’t have as many players show up this year.

One exception was South Shore casinos at Lake Tahoe, which reported a 2 percent increase to $17.2 million. Lawton said Stateline had an easy comparison because a year ago was down 8 percent but that most of the increase can probably be because of “revenue timing.” Put simply, busy casinos on New Year’s Eve don’t collect the money from slots or table games until New Year’s Day so the win from that night gets reported in January instead of December.

Defying the general northern trend, Churchill County casinos also posted solid gains. Total win was up 14.7 percent to $1.75 million in that area’s 11 nonrestricted licensees. Game and table win jumped a whopping 73.8 percent, but games only make up a tiny part of Churchill casino win – just over $93,000. Slot win was up 12.9 percent.

For the year, statewide win is up 3.7 percent.