Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

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December 31, 2013
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Sports betting aids win increase at Tahoe casinos

Nevada casinos reported an 11.9 percent increase in total gaming win for November as the state’s non-restricted casinos raked in $875.97 million.

Statewide, the increase was due to an 81 percent increase in Baccarat win — nearly all of it from tables on the Las Vegas Strip, which reported a 22.6 percent increase in total win.

But in the local markets across the state, the reason was a 474 percent increase in the amount casinos won from sports bettors, primarily football.

Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton said football bets accounted for $355.6 million of the total $490 million wagered on spots. That is the third consecutive monthly record in football bets and is more than $100 million higher than the record set in October.

Lawton said the Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, saw a 7.45 percent increase to just over $8 million in November. Game and table win, which includes sports betting, was up 135 percent to $496,000.

While other games drew the total down a bit, strong “21” play added $238,000 to Carson casino coffers while sports bets pumped up the total by an additional $299,000.

The story was similar in Churchill County. The three licensees offering sports bets there reported a 436 percent increase in win to more than $39,000.

That wasn’t enough, however, to offset the more than 5 percent decrease in slot win, which accounts for more than 90 percent of Churchill’s total gaming. The total of $1,761,000 for the month still fell a bit more than 3 percent short of November 2012’s number.

Overall, South Lake Tahoe’s $17.38 million win total was down 2 percent for the month, but Lawton said the Stateline casinos were up against a very difficult comparison. Last November was up nearly 27 percent over the previous period.

The story was the category dubbed “other games” in Nevada’s smaller markets. That translates to Baccarat, which produced a huge win total in November 2012. Those high-rollers apparently didn’t return this year, leaving the area sharply down in total win.

Sports betting, however, offset a good share of that decrease, coming in 180 percent above a year ago. Slot play also helped, bringing in 25 percent more in winnings this year.

Lawton said it’s a good sign for Tahoe that both slot volume and win are up from a year ago — a sign that regular players are beginning to return to Tahoe resorts.

North Lake Tahoe also did well courtesy of sports bettors, bringing in $236,000 more than a year ago. But slot win, the vast majority of North Shore’s play, was down nearly 30 percent — $420,000 — overall. The result was a total win of just $1.43 million, a 13 percent decrease from November 2012.

Washoe County had one of its best year-over-year increases in a long time, up 14.4 percent overall and led by a 16.7 percent increase in Reno. The county total was $59.47 million, which Lawton attributed in large part to a 9.6 percent increase in visitation this past November.

While sports betting has significant impact in locals markets, Lawton said Baccarat is the key statewide.

“Baccarat is definitely driving our increases,” he said.

Slot winnings, he pointed out, are basically flat compared with 2012, down 1.6 percent through the 11 months of the calendar year. He said that with the economy improving slowly, customers are returning to Southern Nevada.

“But customers wallets are being divided,” he said. “They’re spending in other areas.”


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 1, 2014 11:29AM Published Jan 6, 2014 09:59AM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.