Floyd Mayweather Jr., Strip casinos say thanks.
Wagering — namely high-end baccarat play associated with Mayweather’s world welterweight championship fight with Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand Garden May 3 — fueled the Strip’s largest monthly gaming revenue increase this year.
Statewide, Nevada gaming revenue jumped 8.11 percent to $970.3 million in May, according to results released Friday by the Gaming Control Board.
Strip casinos collected almost $593 million during the month, a 17.3 percent increase compared to May 2013.
Baccarat play accounted for 29 percent of the Strip’s total revenue. Seats in the high-end baccarat rooms with filed with gamblers in town for the sold-out Mayweather fight. The players were joined by other customers visiting during the weeklong Chinese Labour Day holiday.
Revenue from baccarat grew 88.7 percent to $170.9 million. Gamblers wagered $1.03 billion on baccarat, an increase of 26.4 percent. The hold percentage — the amount of money casinos held on wagers — was 16.63 percent, well above the 11.14 percent hold in May 2013.
Without baccarat, Strip gaming revenue still would have increased 1.7 percent.
Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski said three casino operators benefit the most from high-end baccarat wagering, Wynn Resorts Ltd., Las Vegas Sands Corp., and MGM Resorts International. All three companies have holdings in Macau.
Wieczynski said the increase in baccarat wagering indicates the high-end customer remains a viable business source.
“We view the monthly results as solid even after adjusting for high hold in baccarat,” Wieczynski said.
Slot machine wagering on the Strip increased 1.7 percent to $3.3 billion, which marked the fourth time in five months that figure fell into the positive side of ledger.
Analysts gauge slot machine gambling as a measuring point in accessing the Strip’s overall economic health.
“We maintain our positive outlook for the Las Vegas Strip and believe the overall recovery will continue as 2014 progresses,” J.P. Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff told investors.
With May in the books, statewide gaming revenue is down 0.7 percent through the first five months of the year. Last year, Nevada gaming revenue grew 2.6 percent to $11.14 billion.
On the Strip, May marked the third straight monthly overall revenue increase and the market has experienced a rebound from declines in January and February.
Through March, gaming revenue was down 5.4 percent. Through May, gaming revenue is up 0.4 percent.
Gaming Control Board Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton said the results from May 2013 for the Strip grew 6.4 percent over May 2012. So casinos were facing tough comparison going into May 2014.
“All in all, it was a pretty solid month,” Lawton said.
Union Gaming Group analyst Robert Shore said the Strip’s May gaming numbers were better than most analysts expected.
Shore said most of the Strip’s economic growth this year has centered on nongaming segments, including nightlife, restaurants, and hotel rooms.
“If we start to see some growth in the gaming segment, it would be an added catalyst to the Las Vegas Strip recovery,” Shore said.
The Strip’s results helped offset monthly losses reported by casinos in other areas of Clark County, including downtown, North Las Vegas, Laughlin and the Boulder Strip. Mesquite was the only other segment in Clark County reporting an increase, with revenue up 1.6 percent.
The state’s three online poker websites collected $862,000 during May, which was an 8.8 percent increase over April’s results.
The state collected $56.2 million in gaming taxes during June, a decline of 2.43 percent. The collections were based on May’s gaming revenue figures.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at email@example.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.