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Strip casino winnings drop 6.3 percent in May

Blackjack

Tiffany Brown / File photo

Las Vegas has been hit hard by the economic slowdown, with fewer visitors spending less money in the city.

Updated Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | 10:07 a.m.

CARSON CITY – Gambling winnings on the Las Vegas Strip fell in May by 6.3 percent with Baccarat and sports books taking the biggest hits.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported today that the 41 casinos on the Strip won $450.1 million before taxes and expenses and it was the second month of a decline after two months of increases in gaming revenue.

The 6.3 percent drop compares to a soft May 2009, when revenues were down 6.4 percent on the Strip.

Statewide, casinos won $847.1 million, down 4.7 percent. That compared to a poor month a year ago when revenues were off 8.3 percent.

Frank Streshley, chief of tax and licensing for the state board, said improvements in the gaming economy have stalled, mirroring the national picture.

For the 24th consecutive month, gaming win at downtown Las Vegas casinos dropped, down 0.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago. But it was the smallest decline over the two-year period.

North Las Vegas casinos posted an 8.8 percent increase for May; casinos in Laughlin fell by 5.1 percent; Boulder Strip casinos saw a 5 percent jump and Mesquite clubs were off 5.8 percent.

Gambling win in the rest of Clark County suffered a 5 percent fall, the sixth straight month of a decline.

The board reported gambling win fell 7.9 percent at casinos in Washoe County; South Lake Tahoe casinos were off 12.5 percent; Elko County was down 1.1 percent and the Carson Valley area fell by 1.1 percent.

Along the Strip, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the state’s gaming win, winnings from Baccarat fell 37.1 percent, ending 12 consecutive months of increased win in the game.

Streshley said players wagered more in Baccarat, but the “hold” at the casinos was 8.2 percent, compared to 13.3 percent a year ago. “The players were luckier than the casinos,” he said.

The win at the sports books on the Strip dropped by 42.2 percent as players won more on the start of the NBA playoffs.

Streshley said win at Blackjack on the Strip increased by 2 percent; craps jumped 21.4 percent, only the second gain in the last 10 months; roulette win fell 14.1 percent and slot win was up 3.5 percent, only the second increase in the last 23 months.

The multi-denomination machines registered a 4 percent increase in gaming win and penny slots rose 18.7 percent. Megabucks was up 75 percent. But nickel, quarter, $1, $5, $25 and $100 machines all reported a decline in gross win on the Strip.

For the fiscal year, the state collected $630.9 million, down 3.69 percent from the prior year. The Economic Forum, Streshley said had predicted in January that the taxes would be off only 2.5 percent.

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