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Washoe County, Reno casinos post increases in September gambling win

Statewide win was $821.1 million, down 22.4% compared to last year, due to poor Southern Nevada performance

Geoff Dornan

Nevada Appeal

CARSON CITY, Nev. — While Nevada’s local gaming markets rebounded well in September — most showing increases compared to a year ago — the Strip and other large Southern Nevada markets are still suffering.

Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton on Wednesday said the markets that rely heavily on local gamblers are the ones posting increases, in part because of federal stimulus money.

But because the major drivers that bring people to the Strip aren’t there yet, the board reported total statewide win last month of $821.1 million, down 22.4% compared to September 2019, according to the newest monthly gambling totals released Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Compared to August 2020, however, total win in the state was up 10.5% in September, and the Strip accounted for more than 96% of that gain.

“It’s sitting on the runway and wanting to take off, but there are some levers missing for that to happen,” Lawton said, referring specifically to large live entertainment events, conventions and international flights bringing big customers to Las Vegas.

Until those drivers come back, Lawton said, “we’re going to be sitting here with these kinds of numbers for a while.”

The biggest culprit in September was Game and Table win, which decreased 41.9% to $213.6 million year over year; within that number is the dismal $14.2 million Baccarat contributed to the pot — 86.6% less than a year ago.

As was the case in August, Nevada’s smaller markets are back to pre-pandemic levels — Carson City, Churchill, Humboldt, Lyon, Nye and White Pine counties all posted increases compared to a year ago, according to the Gaming Control Board.

The most modest increase among those markets was in Carson, which increased 0.83% or $81,000 compared to a year ago, reporting win of $9.87 million.

Churchill County was up just under 5% as the county’s 10 non-restricted locations raked in $1.82 million in September.

Even Washoe County, which includes casinos not in the city of Reno that often rely on a significant amount of local play, was up in September by 3.4% to $78.8 million.

“The local component in Washoe is really driving the numbers,” Lawton said.

Reno casinos also enjoyed a good month in September, brining in $57 million, a 3% uptick from last year.

The only Washoe County market to see a decrease was North Lake Tahoe, where win decreased $226,000 or 8.8% to $2.3 million. The problem was Game and Table win — down nearly 30% at casinos inIncline Village and Crystal Bay.

The story was completely different at the other end of the lake. Casinos at Stateline reported $24.79 million in win for September, a 36.3% increase over a year ago. The majority of the increase came from slots, where the casinos’ take was up 40.9% or $5.6 million.

Outside of Clark County, only one market posted poor numbers in September — Elko County’s casino win was down 7.9% for the month to $25.2 million. The decrease was nearly 11% in Wendover, the market that accounts for two-thirds of Elko’s casino win.