South Shore casino winnings up 25 percent |

South Shore casino winnings up 25 percent

Associated Press
Annie Flanzraich / Tahoe Daily Tribune

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Nevada casinos won $860 million in July, a 3.7 percent gain compared with the same month last year, as the state’s biggest gambling markets showed small improvements from a year ago, state regulators reported Monday.

A report by the Nevada Gaming Control Board said July marked the third month of consecutive increases for the industry that saw deep, double-digit declines in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

The $48.1 million collected in taxes was a drop of 3.6 percent. Casino taxes account for about one-third of state general fund revenues. Casinos pay taxes in August on winnings from July. The “win” amount and taxes paid often don’t coincide because casinos don’t pay taxes on wagers that were made on credit until the debt is actually paid.

On the Las Vegas Strip – the state’s gambling mecca that accounts for half of statewide casino revenues and is a key barometer of Nevada’s tourism economy – resorts posted a modest 1.6 percent gain over last year with $469 million in winnings.

“Casino win” is the amount that was left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $12.3 billion on table games and slot machines, an increase of 6.7 percent from July 2010.

The $2.8 billion bet on table games was an increase of $304.5 million, or 12.2 percent.

The $9.5 billion pumped into slot machines was up $469 million, or 5.2 percent, and represents the “largest percentage increase for slot volume since May 2006,” said Mike Lawton, senior Control Board analyst.

Once again, baccarat, a high-roller game favored by Asian players, helped with the overall statewide and Strip win totals.

Gamblers wagered $919 million on baccarat in July, an increase in what’s called the “drop” of $175 million, or 23.5 percent from the same month a year ago. Casinos won $89.7 million on the game, up 20.5 percent or $15.3 million.

“Those two amounts, the win and drop, are the largest amounts ever recorded in the state for the month of July,” Lawton said. Without baccarat, the statewide total win would still be up 2 percent.

Though July winnings were below the double-digit increases experienced in the prior two months, they were still encouraging, Lawton said.

Part of the reason is that gamblers this July beat the house more than they did in July 2010. But the volume of play was up.

On the Las Vegas Strip, slot volume increased $273.4 million, or 8.6 percent, marking a fifth month of gains and the largest increase in four years.

Elsewhere around the state, Reno casinos won $51 million, or 0.9 percent more than last July. South Lake Tahoe casinos won $30 million in July to bring in 25 percent more than a year ago. Downtown Las Vegas gained 10 percent.

Smaller casino markets that cater to locals have been slow to recover, given the state’s high unemployment and foreclosures. But local markets in southern Nevada saw a combined gain of 8.5 percent in July and are up nearly 3 percent for the calendar year.

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