Regulators: Nevada gambling revenue slightly up in April

By REGINA GARCIA CANO Markets Associated Press

Nevada gambling revenue in April increased almost 1.2 percent from a year earlier, a change influenced by Las Vegas' events calendar and baccarat — the card game that can be a windfall or whiplash for casinos.

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The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday reported casinos statewide won more than $886.5 million from gamblers last month. That's an increase of $10.4 million compared with April 2016, which saw a drop in revenue.

"Although we were facing a soft comparison, on the special events side of things, last April was quite impressive," said Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the control board. "So, that and baccarat made things somewhat difficult this month."

April 2016 was an eventful month in Las Vegas, including the opening of T-Mobile Arena, Rihanna and Billy Joel concerts and a fight featuring Manny Pacquiao. Last month, far fewer events took place in Sin City, visitation remained flat and convention attendance was down more than 14 percent, with conventions that drew thousands last year rotating out of the destination or happening at a different time.

The control board's data show Las Vegas Strip casinos took in more than half of the total reported revenue statewide, with almost $475.4 million. However, their winnings declined more than 3 percent over the year.

Statewide, casinos' revenue from baccarat — a high-stakes game favored by high-rollers from Asia — in April was $79.2 million, down almost 25 percent, or $25.7 million, compared with the same month last year. Although casinos earned less from baccarat, the amount people gambled increased.

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"Our volume was $637.6 million, which was actually up $47.6 million, or 8 percent, compared to last year," Lawton said. "We've recorded two increases in this calendar year in baccarat volume. We only saw one increase in all of 2016."

In downtown Las Vegas, gambling revenue at casinos grew almost 22 percent, bringing in about $52.3 million. The increase resulted in part from the addition of the Lucky Dragon hotel-casino, which opened in November.

Meanwhile, winnings shrank 4.8 percent in Reno, to nearly $47.7 million, and almost 4.6 percent at Stateline, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, to about $13.3 million.

The state benefited by collecting about $44.3 million in percentage fees from casinos based on the taxable revenues generated in April. That's up 0.26 percent from a year earlier.

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