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Nevada gaming win climbs 8 percent in February

The state’s gaming win climbed 8 percent in February with every geographic jurisdiction showing an increase for the month, taking advantage of the extra leap year day in comparison to last year.

The Gaming Control Board on Wednesday reported the state’s gaming win hit $989.8 million in February.

Analysts credited higher slot handle resulting from the extra day of the month and most pre-Super Bowl casino play occurring primarily in February instead of partially in January last year.

Analysts also noted that February marked the fifth consecutive month of declines in baccarat volume and the ninth decline in the last 10 months, meaning that slot and table wins carried the month.

For the fiscal year, win is up 1.5 percent to $7.48 billion statewide after eight months.

Clark County’s win was up 8.3 percent to $863.3 million, and Strip resorts showed a 7.3 percent increase to $570.3 million for the month.

Downtown Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip and outlying areas of Clark County were among the areas that enjoyed double-digit percentage increases in February.

Downtown win was up 17 percent to $50.6 million, North Las Vegas climbed 12.9 percent to $24.7 million, the Boulder Strip was up 10.4 percent to $71 million, and outlying county areas were up 11.9 percent to $92.5 million.

Laughlin gaming win languished with one of the lowest increases among geographic divisions, up 0.8 percent to $43.4 million for the month.

The three-month gaming win comparison, usually more indicative of trends, shows the gaming win up 2.8 percent statewide and in Clark County since Dec. 1. Over three months, the Strip win is up 2.4 percent.

Analysts are expecting baccarat numbers to pick up in the months ahead.

“While we expect the market to continue experiencing volatility in baccarat play given a slowdown in Chinese players, this drag should moderate given mostly easing baccarat growth comparisons in the coming months,” said J.P. Morgan gaming analyst Joseph Greff in a report to investors Wednesday.

“Overall, we continue to think that the Las Vegas Strip can generate mid-single revenue per available room and low single-digit (percentage) visitation growth,” Greff said.

Carlo Santarelli, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, said the Las Vegas locals market is showing signs of life with gaming revenue up 11.4 percent to $188.2 million. Slot revenue was up 9.9 percent, and slot handle grew 3.8 percent, he said.

Table revenue, excluding poker, was up 22.8 percent on an 8.4 percent increase in drop, Santarelli said in a report to investors.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta

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