CARSON CITY, Nev. – The house ended up winning about $11.1 billion of all the money gambled in Nevada in 2015 — an increase of 1 per cent from 2014 but still below Nevada’s peak year in 2007.
Las Vegas Strip casinos accounted for most of that, keeping $6.3 billion in 2015, according to Nevada Gaming Control Board statistics released Friday.
“Gaming has increased in four of the last five years,” said Michael Lawton, senior analyst with the agency. “We had a broad increase across the whole state.”
Aside from the 0.4 per cent downturn in Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue, most other parts of the state posted gains. Reno casinos saw a gain of 3.3 per cent and won $571 million last year, while downtown Las Vegas casino revenue was up 5.9 per cent last year to $542 million.
“A lot more people are going down there,” Lawton said about downtown, pointing to revitalization efforts led in large part by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. “Properties down there have done a good job figuring how to get the critical mass in the casino.”
While statewide gambling revenue has grown since the recession, the pace is modest and reflects Las Vegas visitors’ overall shift from gambling toward food, shopping and shows. The casino win statistic has not rebounded to its 2007 record of $12.8 billion.
Revenue has also suffered as gamblers pour less money into baccarat, a high-stakes game favoured by high-rollers from Asia. Nevada casinos won $1.3 billion from baccarat in 2015, down 14 per cent from 2014.
Slot machines, which accounted for 63 per cent of the total casino win in 2015, had a good year. Revenue from machines was up 3.8 per cent from 2014 and crossed the $7 billion mark for the first time since 2008.
As for next year? Lawton said he expects low fuel prices, job growth and housing market improvements to continue, all of which could spur record visitation numbers in Las Vegas and encourage gambling.
“We feel pretty good about calendar year 2016,” he said.