Stateline gaming win down in February |

Stateline gaming win down in February

Annie Flanzraich / Tahoe Daily Tribune

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Two special events in February that attracted high rollers to the Las Vegas Strip pushed statewide gambling winnings up almost 14 percent, casino regulators reported Thursday.

The Gaming Control Board said casinos’ winnings increased to $946.6 million, compared with $831 million in February 2009.

However, Stateline casino gambling winnings decreased by 15 percent in February compared to the same month in 2009.

Revenues dropped to $14.048 million, a 15.35 percent drop compared to February 2009. In February 2006, Tahoe casinos brought in $25.4 million.

Stateline continues to suffer from increased competition from tribal casinos in California near the U.S. 50 corridor, said Frank Streshley, chief of licensing and taxation for the control board.

Most of the increase state-wide was driven by the Strip, where casinos won nearly $568 million, up 33 percent from $427 million in the same month last year. It’s the largest increase in casino win on the Strip since November 1999.

Streshley attributed the hefty increase to a favorable calendar where both the Super Bowl and Chinese New Year fell entirely in February. Those events tend to generate high visitor volume from high rollers in Asia and Pacific Rim countries.

In 2009, Chinese New Year and the Friday and Saturday preceding the Super Bowl were in January.

“All indications are that this was a record Chinese New Year,” Streshley said.

February’s statewide posting is the largest monthly casino win increase since December 2006 and the first double-digit increase since July 2007, he said.

Tourism, driven by gambling, is the state’s largest industry, and was hammered in the recession as people stayed home and opted to keep more money in their wallets.

The February report shows “signs that we’ve either hit bottom or will be slowly climbing out,” Streshley said.

Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip account for roughly 50 percent of statewide gambling revenues.

The $946.6 million is what casinos won after gamblers wagered $11.7 billion on slot machines and card games. A breakdown shows the $8.9 billion wagered on slots was down 2.3 percent, while the $2.8 billion gambled on table games rose 37 percent from the same month a year ago.

Baccarat, a high-roller game, saw $1.2 billion in wagers, up nearly 130 per cent, Streshley said. The $206.1 million casinos won on the game was up 258 percent.

The state’s $47 million share of overall winnings was still down more than 28 percent from February 2009, largely because of credit play. Casinos do not pay taxes on markers – short-term loans extended to players – until the debt is collected.

Elsewhere, casinos in northern Nevada’s Washoe County reported winning $60.9 million, up 2.7 percent for the first monthly increase in 32 months, Streshley said.

In Reno, the $43.9 million was an increase of 4 percent.

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