May casino winnings end three-month slump | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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May casino winnings end three-month slump

by Sally J. Taylor

Stateline casino revenue increased 8.4 percent in May, the first positive gaming report since January, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Gaming wins, the amount kept by the casino after payouts, at South Shore were $27.5 million in May, reversing a three-month slump.

“It was primarily due to the industry holding a substantially (larger) piece of the action,” said control board analyst Russell Guindon.

Casinos held 29.4 percent of the revenue from gaming activity in May 1998 compared to 16.3 percent in 1997.

Craps activity provided the largest portion of the revenue increase at Stateline, Guindon said.

Compared to a year ago, craps revenue increased 165 percent compared to 3 percent for slots and 18.4 percent for games and tables.

Whether or not the increase in Stateline gaming wins signals an upward trend is too soon to tell, Guindon said.

“It’s hard to get trends out of the South Lake Tahoe market,” he said. “One positive month after three down months, we’ll wait and see what next month brings.”

For Nevada as a whole, gaming wins were up 1.12 percent at $690.5 million.

A slump in Las Vegas Strip resorts held down the May win for all Nevada casinos and figured in a fiscal year-end tax shortfall of $16.2 million for the state.

Statewide winnings in May were $690.4 million, only a 1.1 percent increase compared to May 1997.

The Strip resorts won $318.4 million in May, down 5.7 percent compared with May 1997 largely due to high-rolling baccarat players with more luck than they had last year.

”The baccarat win was not so bad in May 1998 as it was so good in May 1997,” Guindon said, noting the Strip casinos’ baccarat win was down on an area-by-area basis:

— Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip accounted for $318.4 million of the total May win, down 5.7 percent; and downtown Las Vegas casinos won $58.8 million, up 0.6 percent.

— Laughlin clubs won $42.2 million for a 2.7 percent increase; North Las Vegas casinos won $15.2 million, up 8.2 percent; and Boulder Strip clubs won $43.8 million, up 35.6 percent.

— Casinos in the Reno-Sparks-North Tahoe area won $94.5 million, up 5.3 percent. A breakdown shows Reno up 5.9 percent, Sparks up 5 percent and North Tahoe up 3.6 percent.

— Casinos in Elko County won $16.4 million, down 0.5 percent; clubs in Carson City-Gardnerville-Minden won $7 million, up 11.5 percent; Churchill County casinos won $1.2 million, up 34 percent; Humboldt County clubs won nearly $1.5 million, down 1.6 percent; and White Pine County casinos won $412,000, up 16.7 percent.

During June, the state collected $46.8 million in percentage fees based on the May casino win – a 4.8 percent gain that brought the average for the entire fiscal year to 3.2 percent.

Guindon said the revenue total of $459.1 million is $16.2 million short of what was anticipated by lawmakers last year when they approved the state budget for the current 2-year budget cycle.

To overcome the shortfall, tax revenue from the clubs would have to increase 11.2 percent through June 1999 – but the projection by the legislators was half that percentage.

Casino-related taxes account for about 35 percent of Nevada’s budget.

Associated Press writer Brendan Riley contributed to this article.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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