CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada casinos won $11.1 billion in 2013 to mark a fourth consecutive year of gambling revenue gains fueled largely by a high-roller game and luck that favored the house, state regulators reported Friday.
The statewide win for the calendar year was up 2.6 percent over 2012. It was also the first time since 2008 that Nevada casinos topped $11 billion in gambling revenues, said Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the Gaming Control Board.
Still, the yearly win is 15 percent below a peak of $12.8 billion won by casinos in 2007.
Baccarat, a high-roller game favored by Asian players, was responsible for much of the revenue growth.
Baccarat gamblers wagered a record $11.8 billion, on which casinos won $1.6 billion. It was a lucky year for the house, with casinos winning 13.5 percent of the time on baccarat — the highest hold percentage since 2003.
"They were luckier than usual," Lawton said.
If baccarat is factored out, the statewide win would have been flat for the year, up a scant 0.6 percent.
Revenue from baccarat represented 14 percent of the total statewide win, the report said, illustrating the game's continued importance on Nevada casinos' bottom line. In contrast, baccarat revenue accounted for less than 4 percent of the statewide win a decade ago.
"Growth is being driven by table games, specifically baccarat," Lawton said.
The Las Vegas Strip, Nevada's mecca of posh resorts, saw gambling revenues climb 4.8 percent from the prior year to $6.5 billion. Strip resorts accounted for 58 percent of the statewide total, up from 50 percent 10 years ago.
Casino winnings from sports betting hit a record $202.8 million, up 19 percent. Football in particular saw a banner year, with a record $1.6 billion wagered in 2013 and an $80.8 million win — the second-highest on record.
Year-end results were bolstered by December winnings of $1 billion, which rose 9.6 percent from the same month in 2012. It was the second time casinos reached the $1 billion mark in 2013, the other being in February.
The "win" for December is what was left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $12.4 billion on cards and dice games, slot machines and sports betting during the month. A breakdown shows gamblers plunked $9 billion into slot and video poker machines, while $3.4 billion was bet on card and other games.