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Baccarat contributes to 29 percent increase in Strip gaming revenue

Updated Thursday, March 8, 2012 | 11:46 a.m.

CARSON CITY - Heavy action on the baccarat tables and betting on football helped Strip casinos post a gross win of $623.5 million in January, an increase of 29.1 percent.

The 29.1 percent jump in gaming revenue on the Strip is measured against a decline of 2.4 percent in January 2011.

The state Gaming Control Board reported that casinos statewide won $1 billion from gamblers before taxes and business expenses for the month, an increase of 18.3 percent. Clark County casions account for more than 90 percent of the gaming win in the state registering a gross win of $925.4 million for the month.

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the board, said casinos on the Strip reported $194 million in baccarat winnings, the second-highest monthly total ever and a 199.3 percent jump from the year before.

Lawton attributed the heavy baccarat play to the Chinese New Year celebration in January, which drew Asian gamblers to Las Vegas.

Sports betting, mostly on the college football bowl games, jumped 96.5 percent.

Casinos on the Strip won $8.1 million on football bets and held 7.1 percent. (In January 2011, the hold was only 2.5 percent.) The hold on sports parlay cards fell by 13 percent, as the bettors' luck improved from the year before.

Lawton said the game and table win on the Strip was the highest ever. But the gross Strip win in Blackjack declined 11.9 percent; craps was off 4.1 percent and slot win inched down 0.4 percent. Roulette on the Strip reported a 27.4 percent increase.

He said the penny slots and the multi denomination machines showed increases but there was a drop in winnings in other slots such as the 5 cent, 25 cent and the $1 machines.

The board reported gross win by downtown Las Vegas casinos rose 13.7 percent; North Las Vegas was up 15.6 percent; Laughlin gained 6.2 percent; the Boulder Strip increased 8.7 percent; Mesquite rose 5.4 percent and the balance of Clark County was up 4.8 percent.

But it was a different story in Northern Nevada. Only South Lake Tahoe casinos reported a gain, of 2 percent for the month. Casinos in Washoe County dropped 6.1 percent in their gross win; Carson Valley Area fell 3.7 percent and Elko County clubs dropped 2.1 percent in their gross win.

The state collected $57.3 million in gaming tax, down 16.3 percent for January 2011. But Lawton said that was due to Chinese New Years falling late in January and he expects to pick up $19 million more in taxes in February due to the credit play on baccarat in January.

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