Stateline in Tahoe sees gaming win decrease in March; Nevada sees statewide increase | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Stateline in Tahoe sees gaming win decrease in March; Nevada sees statewide increase

Gambling chips stacked around roulette wheel on gaming table

Despite modest increases in gaming win percentages in surrounding areas such as the North Shore and Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe's South Shore trended the other way in March.

South Shore casinos at Stateline reported $16.7 million in win — a decrease of 2.3 percent from a year ago, about $394,000.

Statewide gaming win increased 7.5 percent in March to a hair more than $991 million, a fact that Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton said is largely due to the ConExpo-Con/Agg convention in Las Vegas. The construction industry's largest gathering, the convention brought 130,000 construction professionals to southern Nevada.

Unfortunately, Lawton said, they only meet every three years. Win was down 3 percent in March 2016.

That convention was exactly what Nevada's casino operators needed to offset the 11 percent decrease in Baccarat winnings to just $58.4 million. That game, which has the power to drive statewide gaming numbers every month, has only reported five year-over-year increases in the past 25 months.

Without Baccarat, gaming win would have been up 8.9 percent in March.

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Lawton said one of the most impressive set of numbers in the March data was sports pool win which increased more than 225 percent to $31.4 million. That was because of the betting on the NCAA basketball tournament, which nearly doubled its win to $41.27 million. A good share of that was driven by the percentage the casinos held — 9.5 percent this year compared to just 5.1 percent in March 2016.

A good sign for the state overall was the 6.3 percent increase in slot win to $655.4 million. Slot win is now up 3.7 percent for the first quarter of this calendar year primarily on rising volume. Gamblers wagered $9.7 billion in March, a 4 percent increase.

North Shore casinos at Lake Tahoe also were up for the first month of this year. That 7.4 percent increase raised total win there to $1.7 million, nearly all attributable to slot play.

The Carson Valley reporting area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, reported $8.3 million in win, a 1.47 percent increase from a year ago. But the area is still down 1 percent for the first quarter of the calendar year. Table Games win was up 17 percent in Carson Valley casinos but that category makes up only a tiny percentage of total gaming here.

Washoe County, badly hurt by January and February storms, reported $69 million in winnings, an 8.1 percent increase. The primary beneficiary was Reno as Sparks saw only a 2 percent increase. With snow-free roads, visitation was up 4.6 percent in March.

Finally, Churchill County casinos reported a 7.38 percent increase in win for a total of $1.96 million in March. Slot play, which accounts for the vast majority of win in that county, was up 5.8 percent to $1.87 million.

Table games, however, posted a 55.46 percent increase to $92,000 in the three casinos that offer table games.

This story was originally reported by Geoff Dornan of the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com.