CARSON CITY, Nev. - The win by Nevada casinos ticked up 3.3 percent to $892.7 million in September compared with the same month in 2011, due mainly to bad bets by sports bettors as the NFL football season started.
State Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton said the overall increase stems from a record increase in sports bet winnings, up 165.4 percent to $53.4 million, with a 12.7 percent "hold" - the amount of money gambled that a casino retains - compared with a 5.8 percent hold in 2011.
Lawton said that's a record haul for a month's worth of sports betting and for football which generated $41.5 million of the total sports bet hold for the casinos.
"Our understanding is a lot of favorites did not cover (the point spread) during the month," he said, adding, "Across the board, sports pools had a great month."
The total $892.7 monthly million win for the casinos pushes their win for the first quarter of the fiscal year to 5.6 percent more than the same period last year.
The sports pool increase came at a good time considering baccarat win for the clubs fell 5.1 percent to $78 million. Lawton said the total amount played was up, but the baccarat win was down.
The Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County, saw just a half percent increase to $8.8 million. Without a $196,000, 140 percent increase in sports pool winnings, the area would have been down instead of up slightly.
North Shore casinos at Tahoe saw an increase of 6.8 percent in total win to $2.75 million. Again, the clubs were helped by sports bettors who lost $147,000, a 240 percent change.
In Washoe County, the overall increase was just over a half percent to $68.8 million. Again, without the increase by sports pools, the county would have been down.
Churchill County had a similar story, reporting a better than 200 percent increase in sports pool win to $47,000. But with just two books, the increase wasn't enough to offset the 7.65 percent decrease in the slot win that makes up the vast majority of gambling revenue for Churchill's 11 casino locations. Countywide, total win fell 6.49 percent to $1.57 million in September.
South Tahoe casinos at Stateline saw a 5 percent overall increase to just over $18 million. The story there was last year's abysmal "21" numbers. In September 2011, the hold for that game was just 2.6 percent. This year it rose to a much more normal 16.8 percent - still a bit lower than the statewide average hold of 18 percent.
The other anomaly in the monthly report was the 38.2 percent increase in tax collections. The state took in just over $71 million compared with some $51 million a year ago. Lawton said that reflects a number of high rollers paying off their markers at the end of the quarter.