September gaming win passes $1 billion | TahoeDailyTribune.com

September gaming win passes $1 billion

Geoff Dornan

CARSON CITY – Statewide gaming win passed $1 billion in September for only the third time in history.

And, to the surprise of operators and Gaming Control Board experts, table games, not slots, were the reason.

The total win reached $1.01 billion – a 9.63 percent, $89 million increase over September 2004. The total was a record for September and the 14th consecutive monthly record.

At the same time, the Carson Valley area got back on track after August’s negative numbers. Winnings in Carson Valley, which includes the capital city as well as valley portions of Douglas County, went down a half percent in August after 28 straight months of growth.

For September, the area was again riding high with $11.3 million in winnings – an 11.55 percent increase over September 2004.

Stateline didn’t share in the wealth, reporting a 13.9 percent drop in total win to just over $31 million. The North Shore of Lake Tahoe was up a quarter percent to $4.2 million.

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Washoe County enjoyed its fourth straight month of increases after nearly three years of declining gaming win totals. Total win for the county was $99 million – up 7 percent over September 2004.

The big surprise, said Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley, is that $82 million of the statewide increase came from table games. Games winnings increased 29.8 percent, driven not by high-stakes baccarat but by the most basic table game offered in casinos, “21.”

He said normally when there’s a big increase, they can point to a major boxing match or convention or other event.

“But we can’t really tie it to anything this time,” he said.

Winnings from “21” were up 42.7 percent statewide to an all-time record $122.9 million. The bulk of the jump was on the Las Vegas Strip where the game was up 60 percent.

Streshley said gamblers were simply unlucky on the tables during September.

High-stakes baccarat didn’t hurt the totals. Winnings there jumped 19.2 percent compared with the same month last year to $51.8 million.

Roulette was up 26.7 percent and poker up 33.5 percent. Only craps was down – 3.9 percent for the month.

Slot and mechanical game winnings were basically flat for the month – up just six-tenths of a percent. But Streshley said that was influenced by the calendar.

Since September ended on a Friday, a chunk of that month’s slot win wasn’t counted by casinos until the following Monday and, therefore, will be reported in October’s totals.