February Gaming Win Up 5.7 Percent With Strength Seen Across All Major Markets

CARSON CITY – Nevada casinos won $932.2 million in February for a 5.7 percent gain over the same month in 2011, even without the Chinese New Year event that annually brings high rollers to the Las Vegas Strip, the Gaming Control Board reported today.

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the control board, said the February win was solid and seen across the state. Only three small markets showed declines in the monthly report.

The Strip was up 3.3 percent with a win of $530.7 million.

Photo by Antoine Taveneaux via Wikimedia Commons.

The gains came even though the Chinese New Year fell in January this year. The January gaming win topped $1 billion, the first time that milestone has been reached since September 2008.

“This month, really what it shows, is that core customer really was strong,” Lawton said.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported today that visitor volume in February was up 6.4 percent over February 2011. Convention attendance was up by more than 23 percent. Air traffic was up 6.6 percent.

All these numbers helped the state overcome the lack of the Chinese New Year in February, he said.

Looking at the Strip without baccarat, all gaming volumes are up for the fiscal year and in February as well, Lawton said. Slot volume on the Strip has seen increases in 10 of the last 12 months.

“So those are the things we’ve been looking for all along, is that, OK, baccarat has been carrying the load,” he said. “We need the core customer to come back and have this nice blend of the two and that is kind of what we’re experiencing now. So it’s good.”

Lawton said there is a lot of good news in the February report.

“That’s now five consecutive monthly increases for the state; we haven’t seen that since 2006,” he said. “I mean the list goes on and on. There is just a lot of positives that we can draw from this month’s results.”

The gaming percentage fee tax collections, which help fund the state budget, are now up $10.8 million over what was forecast by the Economic Forum.

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Audio clips:

Gaming Control Board analyst Michael Lawton says the February results show the core customer was strong:

041012Lawton1 :23 Chinese New Year.”

Lawton says the statewide strength is what the gaming industry has been waiting for:

041012Lawton2 :13 So it’s good.”

Lawton says the state has now seen five consecutive monthly gaming wins:

041012Lawton3 :12 this month’s results.”