Nevada gambling revenue up 8 per cent in May, led by big gains on Las Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Nevada casinos’ gambling revenue climbed 8 per cent in May compared with the same month last year, helped by a star-studded boxing match featuring Floyd Mayweather, mixed martial arts over Memorial Day weekend and other special events that drummed up more gambling activity on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Friday that the state’s casinos brought in $970 million last month. Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue jumped 17 per cent to $593 million, while downtown Las Vegas revenue fell 8 per cent to $39 million.

Reno casino revenue rose 4 per cent in May to $52 million, and South Lake Tahoe gambling revenue climbed 18 per cent to $17 million. Both cities faced tough comparisons to strong numbers in May 2013 but came out on top, according to Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton.

It was a banner month for baccarat, the high-roller game favoured by Asian players. Nevada’s casinos pulled in about $173 million on the game, up 85 per cent year-over-year. A Chinese holiday in May helped bolster tourism to Las Vegas, Lawton said.

Slot machines brought in $556 million for the state’s casinos. That’s 4 per cent less than a year earlier.

Online poker revenue hit $862,000 in May, the 13th month that playing the game by computer has been legal in the state. Online poker brought the companies that run the games $10.2 million in revenue in its first 12 months.

Nevada collected $56 million in taxes on the May winnings, a drop of about 2 per cent over last year.

Gambling revenue statewide is up 2 per cent in the past 11 months compared with the same period a year ago — a rebound that’s slightly weaker than analysts had forecast.