Nevada casino revenue down 10 percent in May

Nevada casino revenue down 10 percent in May; state tax collections down 24 percent

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Drops in table game play and some plain bad luck sent Nevada casino revenue down 10 percent in May compared with last year.

The state's casinos brought in $885 million in May, down from $984 million a year ago, Nevada Gaming Control Board officials announced Thursday.

"The bottom line was going into May, we knew it was going to be a very difficult comparison month," said Michael Lawton, senior analyst with the Gaming Control Board. "Last May was a very good month for gaming revenue."

In fact, last May was the best month for gambling revenue since September 2008, and it's only been topped by this year's banner January.

This May, revenue on the Las Vegas Strip tumbled 18 percent, dropping to $475 million. Downtown Las Vegas brought in $45 million, which was 2 percent down compared with May 2011.

Lawton called the low numbers a "statistical anomaly." Las Vegas had a strong events calendar to draw gamblers in May, including a fight involving Floyd Mayweather Jr., a UFC fight, and large baccarat tournaments on the Strip.

"We felt we'd have a better month than what we did," Lawton said.

Laughlin had a better month than Las Vegas, bringing in $42 million in May for a 20 percent year-over-year gain, while the Boulder Strip brought in $76 million for a 9 percent gain.

Reno revenue of $45 million was down 6 percent, while $13 million in South Lake Tahoe casino winnings represented a nearly 27 percent dive.

Most of the statewide revenue decline can be traced to a 27 percent drop in table game winnings, including a 48 percent drop for baccarat, a high roller game favored by Asian players.

Slot machine revenue was virtually flat, rising less than 1 percent statewide.

The "win" is what was left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $11.7 billion playing cards, table games and slot machines. A breakdown shows gamblers bet $2.7 billion on card and table games in May, down $233 million or 7.9 percent from a year ago. They pumped $9 billion into slots, which was $268 million or 2.9 percent down from last May.

Tax collections based on May revenues were also down. State officials say they brought in $52 million, a 24 percent drop from the previous year.

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