Nevada gaming wins tops $1B in July

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ July was a good month for casinos in Nevada, with house winnings topping $1 billion for the fourth time this year, state regulators said Wednesday. 

The $1.02 billion that casinos statewide won in July nearly matched the $1.04 billion a month earlier and represented a 2.9% increase compared with July 2018, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said. 

"Back-to-back $1 billion win amounts and the fourth time this year,'' said Michael Lawton, the board's chief analyst. ``These are welcome numbers for sure.'' 

Lawton pointed to $1 billion-plus months in February and March after starting the year with five consecutive monthly decreases. Lawton noted that house winnings from slot machines are up 1.9% so far in 2019. 

"We're seeing nice, consistent increases in slot volume and slot win,'' he said. 

House winnings on increased slot machine play contributed to a 4.4% increase in statewide casino winnings in that category compared with July of last year. 

Baccarat play winnings, which helped a June jump in the monthly report, were down 23.7% a month ago compared with July 2018. 

The state reaped $73.9 million in taxes based on the July figures, a comparative windfall up more than 30% from June and up 32.5% from a year ago. 

But Lawton said the comparison was skewed because casinos received tax credits of about $20.1 million for the same two months in 2018. Properties have not yet sought similar tax credits this year. 

His calculations based on similar projected tax breaks suggested the state would take in about $7 million more this year than last year over the two-month span. 

On the Las Vegas Strip, casinos reported a boost in slot machine win amounts and a modest 1.6% increase in their winnings for the month compared to the previous year.