Players Have Good Month In Nevada Casinos - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

For the second straight month, Nevada casinos reported modest increases in the amount of money won from gamblers, posting a 3.8 percent gain over February of last year.

The state Gaming Control Board reported today that the amount won from gamblers in February reached $909.5 million with $765.8 million coming from casinos in Clark County.

While the $909.5 million was a record for February, Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the board, said the "players were extremely lucky."

For instance, he said the casinos won $58.4 million in baccarat, up 9.9 percent. But there was $754 million played, mostly during Chinese New Year and the casinos reported they "held" 7.7 percent of the play versus the expected 19.5 percent.

Had the casinos experienced their expected "hold" percentage on the games, the statewide casino win would have been up more than 9 percent instead of the 3.8 percent, Streshley said.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said, "February's results were good, especially in light of the very tough comparison with last February when the gaming win increased 15.9 percent and included an extra day with leap year."

Streshley said the extra leap year day fell on a weekend in 2004; an extra day can account for an extra 5 percent in the gross win.

But the 3.8 February jump percent marked the fourth straight month that the percentage increase in casino win has declined. There was a 12.8 percent gain in November, 11 percent in December and 3.9 percent in January.

The board said gaming taxes for the first nine months of this fiscal year total $501.7 million, an increase of 3.3 percent. The number is $12 million more -- or 2.5 percent greater -- than predicted by the Economic Forum.

The board said slot machines produced a $582.4 million win, up 2.2 percent from a year ago statewide in February. Table game winnings rose 5.9 percent to $317.3 million.

Winnings statewide, computed before taxes and business expenses, rose 1.2 percent in blackjack; craps was up 5 percent; baccarat jumped 9.9 percent; roulette fell 22.8 percent and the sports book pool rose 45 percent.

The board said the 42 casinos along the Las Vegas Strip posted a win of $462.6 million, up 4 percent. The increase was attributed to play on table games. Streshley said the increase on the Strip would have been 15 percent had the games experienced their traditional "hold," meaning the players came away with more money.

Slot machines on the Strip produced $224.4 million, down 0.4 percent from a year ago. But gross win on the table games increased by 7.8 percent to $232.8 million.

Streshley said the Strip clubs won $58 million on baccarat but the hold percentage was only 7.7 percent compared with 19.5 percent in February last year. The 19 casinos in downtown Las Vegas reported $57.9 million in win, up 0.8 percent. Gross revenue from the slot machines inched up 0.8 percent but win from table games was down 1.6 percent. The 11 casinos in North Las Vegas posted $24.1 million in gross revenue, up 7.1 percent. Slot win rose 7.5 percent and table games inched up 1.5 percent.

For the first time since January 2004, the 10 clubs in Laughlin registered a decline in gross revenue on the month-to-month comparison. The board said the win was $55 million, down 2.4 percent. Slot revenue fell by 2.4 percent and table games were off by 3.5 percent.

The board said the 33 casinos on the Boulder Strip produced a win of $70.6 million, up 9.6 percent. Slot revenue increased 7.2 percent and winnings from the table games shot up 25.6 percent.

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