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August 15, 2018

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Nevada gaming revenue up 12 percent in January, eclipses $1 billion

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Yasmina Chavez

A gambler plays a Wheel of Fortune slot machine during Lucky Dragon’s grand opening celebration, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

Nevada gaming revenue saw a sharp increase in January, up 12 percent compared to the same month last year, with Clark County seeing a 14.3 percent jump, state regulators reported.

Statewide, nonrestricted casinos — those with table games and 15 or more slot machines — showed a gaming win of $1.04 billion in January, a 12.02 percent increase compared to January 2016, when the win was $925 million, according to statistics released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Gaming revenue in Clark County also saw a healthy start to the new year, increasing 14.3 percent to $925 million for the month, with the Strip showing a 14.4 percent spike to $532 million.

The $1.04 billion is “the highest win amount since February of 2013, so you have to go back a little ways since we recorded such a high number,” said Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst with the Tax and License Division of the Gaming Control Board.

“The billion dollar number is impressive; it’s sort of a high water mark,” Lawton said. “The last time we recorded a billion was in July, but this month is a little bit higher than July’s ... It’s a nice sign that we recorded a billion twice in the last seven months.”

The driving factor behind the increase was the Chinese New Year beginning at the end of January, as opposed to last year being entirely in February.

“Chinese New Year is a big event that brings in a lot of baccarat play," Lawton said. “It was a very good month for baccarat.”

Lawton said baccarat recorded a win of $157.9 million in January, up 55.1 percent compared to the same month last year. Also up was the volume of baccarat play, which increased 47.8 percent, with a total volume of $935.6 million.

“We really haven’t seen a lot of baccarat volume increases lately. It’s been a struggle. We’ve only had five increases in the last 25 months,” Lawton said.

The biggest increases in January were in downtown Las Vegas, where revenue was up 32 percent, and North Las Vegas, where it rose 25.94 percent.

Those increases were largely in part to the New Year’s Eve holiday occurring on a weekend, Lawton said.

“With the timing of the regular new year falling on a weekend, we had some slot revenue roll into January from December,” he said. “Downtown Las Vegas’ and North Las Vegas’ significant uptick is due to timing.”

Based on January gaming revenue, Nevada collected $75.2 million in fees this month, 8.08 percent less than January 2016 collections of $81.8 million.

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