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Nevada casino winnings report charts sluggish August

September 30, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2019 file photo, people shop in a store at the SEMA show, an automotive specialty products convention in Las Vegas. Casino gambling remained slow in Nevada last month, according to a key index of casino activity that showed little improvement from the month before. The Nevada Gaming Control Board said Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 that casino house winnings of $743 million statewide were down 22% in August, compared with the same month a year ago when casinos reported winning nearly $954 million in August 2019. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
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FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2019 file photo, people shop in a store at the SEMA show, an automotive specialty products convention in Las Vegas. Casino gambling remained slow in Nevada last month, according to a key index of casino activity that showed little improvement from the month before. The Nevada Gaming Control Board said Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 that casino house winnings of $743 million statewide were down 22% in August, compared with the same month a year ago when casinos reported winning nearly $954 million in August 2019. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Casino gambling remained slow in Nevada last month, according to a key index of casino activity that showed little improvement from the month before.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said Wednesday that casino house winnings of $743 million statewide were down 22% in August, compared with the same month a year ago when casinos reported winning nearly $954 million in August 2019.

A month ago, the regulatory agency said July reported casino winnings of $756 million represented a 26% decrease from a year earlier.

Las Vegas Strip properties reported winnings down 39% in both July and August.

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Board analyst Michael Lawton noted that resorts on and around Las Vegas Boulevard, which normally provide about half the so-called gaming win figure statewide, accounted for 97% of the decrease in the year-over comparison.

Analysts say Las Vegas casinos continue to face challenges due to limited air travel, lack of mid-week convention business and an absence of arena events and entertainment options.

The monthly report included a reference to a one-time accounting transfer of $125.8 million in unused tax credits from the prior fiscal year. The outsized amount of unused credits was due to the suspension of gambling from March 17 to June 4. The figure did not represent newly generated revenue for the current fiscal year, but is being applied to casino owners’ tax returns in fiscal 2021, Lawton said.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday announced the lifting of a 50-person cap on public and private gatherings, beginning Thursday, in a step toward restarting conventions, concerts, sports events and trade shows that power the state’s economy.

Venues that can hold more than 2,500 people can submit plans to operate at 10% capacity, and the new guidelines will let smaller venues host up to 250.

Casino taxes are second to sales taxes as a percentage of Nevada’s annual budget. The state has no personal income tax.

Lawton noted The Mirage resort reopened on the Strip on Aug. 27. Three other properties closed since mid-March thanks to the coronavirus pandemic reopened in September, including the Oyo Hotel and Casino, the Tropicana and Park MGM. Planet Hollywood is slated to open Oct. 8. The Cromwell projects are set for an October opening.

The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino and the Palms resort have yet to announce opening plans.

Mobile app sports wagers tallied more than $305 million, offering a bright spot in the August report, Lawton said, because professional sports leagues like the National Hockey League and National Basketball League played during the month when they would normally be off.