Published Monday, July 11, 2011 | 7:11 a.m.
Updated Monday, July 11, 2011 | 9:58 a.m.
CARSON CITY – Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip chalked up a 28.9 percent jump in winnings in May, the biggest increase since February 2010.
The gain was led by baccarat, up 129.7 percent, and by the sports books, which saw a 511.7 percent jump.
Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the state Gaming Control Board, noted it was a “soft comparison” because gaming win on the Strip in May 2010 was off 6.4 percent from a year earlier.
All gaming areas in Clark County, except Laughlin, posted higher wins in May compared to the same month a year ago. “Laughlin is the one market not following the trend,” Lawton said.
Fueled by the performance of Southern Nevada, the state reported a 16.1 percent increase in casino gaming win for the month.
The board reported Monday that Strip casinos recorded $550.4 million in gaming win, which is computed before expenses and taxes. Casinos are 5.16 percent ahead of where they were at this time during the last fiscal year. Lawton said the $550.4 million was the largest win since January 2008.
The board said win at downtown Las Vegas casinos rose by 7.9 percent, and it was up by 15.1 percent in North Las Vegas, the biggest gain in that city since November 2009.
Casinos on the Boulder Strip registered a 2.8 percent increase; Mesquite was up 1.6 percent and casino win in the balance of Clark County increased 4.6 percent. The win at Laughlin casinos fell by 10.6 percent, the fifth straight month of a decline.
The sports book win on the Strip was up due to an 848 percent increase in basketball betting as the NBA playoffs got under way. Last May, casinos lost $280,000 on basketball in the month.
Slot machine win at Strip casinos rose 11.4 percent, paced by a 118.4 percent gain in $100 slots. Lawton said this is the third consecutive month for an increased win in slots – the first time that has happened since summer 2007.
The board said winnings from blackjack on the Strip increased by 26.3 percent; craps fell 10 percent and roulette rose 2.8 percent.
Gaming win in Washoe County fell by 6.6 percent; Carson City was down 2.1 percent and Elko was off 0.4 percent. But South Lake Tahoe casinos enjoyed a 15 percent increase.
The board said the casinos statewide paid $68.3 million in taxes in May, a 17.6 percent increase over last year.