Tahoe casinos win big in March thanks to strong Sierra snowpack
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada casinos reported total win of $922.3 million in March, 3 percent less than the same month last year and the lowest monthly win since October.
Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton said it was generally a soft month with one less weekend day and decreases both in slot and game and table volume.
For the casinos in the Tahoe Basin, the story was much different as the first healthy snowpack in a half-decade brought many more skiers to the resorts.
Stateline casinos at South Lake Tahoe reported $17.1 million in win, a 23.2 percent increase over a year ago. That is the fifth consecutive month of increases at south shore. Slot win increased 19 percent and Table Game win by 33 percent.
North Shore casinos also had a good month, reporting $1.6 million in winnings, a 6.2 percent increase. That area is now up 16 percent over the same first quarter of 2015.
Like South Shore, the story was the volume of visitor play, up 42 percent. But at the north end of the lake, it was a very easy comparison since March 2015 was down more than 15 percent compared to the year before that.
Lawton said total win was actually up this fiscal year before a total of $13.9 million in tax credits granted to Tesla and other programs and transferred to the gaming industry were taken.
One bright spot, Lawton said, is the record $458 million bet on sports, $422 million of it on basketball — also an all-time record.
But, at least in March, he said those bettors knew what they were doing because the total sports pool winnings were just $9.7 million. That is 47.7 percent less than a year ago when a lot less cash was bet on sports.
Like the state as a whole, the Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, saw total win decrease.
CVA casinos reported $8.23 million in win, $391,000 and 4.5 percent less than a year ago. The story was a huge drop in games volume and win — 40.8 percent or $1.8 million — as those numbers returned to normal levels.
In March 2015, race and sportsbook win in the capital rose 231 percent and blackjack win increased 110 percent, driving overall win up more than 7 percent.
Churchill County had an excellent month, reporting an overall 12.7 percent increase in win to $1.83 million. The four locations offering table games raked in $59,000 for a 6.3 percent increase. Slot play, which makes up the vast majority of Churchill gaming win, brought in $1.77 million, a 12.9 percent increase.
Washoe County casinos were flat compared to a year back, down just a tenth of a percent to $63.87 million, a difference of just $79,000. But for the calendar year through the first quarter, Washoe is up 2.2 percent.
Statewide, the story is the continued slump in Baccarat winnings. Total Baccarat win was down just 3 percent to $65.7 million. But that follows the 33 percent decrease reported in March 2015. Total table game win was $305.6 million, $10.2 million less than a year ago.
Slot win totaled $616.6 million, just under 3 percent less than last March.