he state Gaming Control Board said the casinos' winnings fell 0.6 % from March 2009, when they took in us$ 918 million.
"This is a positive, a little better than expected," said Frank Streshley, chief of licensing and taxation at the board. Winnings are what casinos kept after gamblers wagered us$ 11.9 billion on slot machines and table games. Statewide, the us$ 9.4 billion wagered in slots was down 6.2 %, but table game wagers of us$ 2.5 billion were up 10.6 %, Streshley said.
Nevada collected almost us$ 80 million in taxes based on those revenues, a 6.8 % increase compared with the same period last year. For the fiscal year that began July 1, casino winnings are down 3.9 %.
Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, which account for about half of all gambling revenues statewide, reported us$ 467 million in winnings, a 2.4 % increase from March 2009, the report said. It's the second straight monthly increase after two years of declines.
Streshley said gambling on the Strip was bolstered by betting on the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament and baccarat play, a high-roller game popular with Asian gamblers.
Bettors statewide wagered a record us$ 264.1 million on basketball during this year's March Madness, and casinos won us$ 20 million, up about 74 %. Sports book winnings for the month totaled us$ 13.7 million, up 123 % from last year. The baccarat win was us$ 53.1 million, up 58.6 %.
Nevada's tourism and casino market were hard hit during the recession as tourists stayed home and gamblers pocketed discretionary dollars they otherwise may have wagered. "I definitely think as a state we've hit bottom," Streshley said. "The economy appears to be slowly recovering," he said, adding that he expects a "tight range" in results in the coming months without any big swings positive or negative.
Casinos in Laughlin, the Reno area and South Lake Tahoe also posted gains. Casinos in Washoe County, which includes Reno, reported us$ 65.9 million in winnings. That was up 1.6 % from a year earlier and the second monthly increase after 31 straight months of declines.
In Laughlin, casinos' wins totaled us$ 52.8 %, up 2.3 %, which ended 27 months of decline. At South Lake Tahoe, casinos reported us$ 21 million in winnings for a 7.1 % increase. Elsewhere, revenues were down 5 % in Elko County, 10.6 % in downtown Las Vegas, 11.7 % in North Las Vegas, and 9.2 % in Sparks.