Nevada Casino Winnings Decrease 4.7 Percent in May

By: Sandra Chereb AP Email
By: Sandra Chereb AP Email

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada casinos won $847 million in May, a decline of 4.7 percent compared with the same month a year ago, state gambling regulators reported Wednesday.

A lucky streak by baccarat players - a high-roller game favored by Asian visitors - contributed to much of the monthly decline.

"Players won more," said Frank Streshley, licensing and taxation chief for the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Gamblers wagered $739.6 million in May on baccarat, an increase of nearly 2 percent. But the win for casinos was $62.1 million, down 35.4 percent from May 2009, representing the first drop in more than a year.

Excluding baccarat, the statewide win would have declined 1 percent, Streshley said.

Wednesday's report said state tax collections based on the total statewide win was almost $50.6 million, up 15.3 percent from the same month in 2009. The increase is attributed to collection of outstanding markers, or credit extended to gamblers. Taxes on markers are not collected until they are paid.

Statewide, gamblers wagered $11.8 billion in May, a 5.7 percent decline. Of that, $9.3 billion wagered on slots was down 7.5 percent. The $2.5 billion wagered at table games was up 1.3 percent, Streshley said.

Casino revenues make up about a third of Nevada's general fund, and the report shows the state's gambling and tourism industry continues to struggle in the recession. Economists have said Nevada could face a $3 billion budget shortfall - about half its current budget - by 2011.

Megaresorts on the Las Vegas Strip, which account for about half of all casino revenue statewide, reported $450.2 million, a drop of 6.4 percent from May 2009, the report said.

Casinos in Washoe County, which includes Reno, saw winnings drop nearly 8 percent to $70.4 million.

Only the Boulder Strip and North Las Vegas in Clark County and some parts of Elko County showed improvement in the year-to-year revenues comparison.

At South Lake Tahoe, a market that has suffered from expanding Indian casinos in northern California, winnings plunged 12.5 percent to $15.8 million.

The report showed an overall decrease in casino winnings of 4.1 percent for the first 11 months of the 2010 fiscal year.

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