Nevada gambling revenue last month fell 1.7 percent over the same period a year ago due to a drop in baccarat winnings and a tough comparison with a strong July 2016, when casinos statewide crossed the psychologically important $1 billion threshold.
Data released Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show casinos won almost $998 million from gamblers in July, even after venues on the Las Vegas Strip — the main driver of the statewide revenue figure — saw their winnings shrink about 7.7 percent to $565.6 million. Last month's decrease ended a four-month streak of revenue increases.
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"We were facing a pretty difficult comparison," the board's senior analyst, Michael Lawton, said. "The state was up 10.1 percent last July, and the Strip was up 16.8 percent. So for us to come in very close to $1 billion and only being down 1.7 percent, I don't think we can be too disappointed about those results."
The decrease was also a result of the month having one fewer weekend day compared to July 2016.
Players last month gambled $787.4 million in baccarat — a high-stakes game. That was a decrease of $123.8 million or 13.6 percent over the year. The card game yielded casinos $120.9 million, down 19.6 percent or $29.5 million compared to July 2016.
"Baccarat had a good month, but it was nowhere near as good as last July," Lawton said.
A year ago, Nevada's casinos crossed the $1 billion mark because of more weekend days in the calendar and good luck with baccarat.
Casinos in Stateline were the only others aside from the Strip that saw their revenue decline. Those venues earned almost $23.9 million or 14.76 percent less than in July 2016.
Casinos along Boulder Highway saw the biggest jump in revenue in Clark County last month, bringing in $66.4 million or 19.3 percent more than a year ago. Meanwhile, casinos in downtown Las Vegas raked in almost $23.7 million or about 16.8 percent more compared to July 2016.
The state benefited with more than $69.1 million in percentage fees based on the taxable revenues generated in July. That's an almost 1.1 percent increase over the year.
Statewide this calendar year casino revenue is up 2.6 percent. Lawton said the board expects casinos to report strong winnings for August and September in part due to last weekend's much-anticipated boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor — which was expected to be the most-bet fight ever — and the upcoming megafight between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
"We have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of months," he said.
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