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Nev. casino winnings up 7.4 percent in September

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SANDRA CHEREB | October 31, 2013 02:19 PM EST | AP

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada casinos won $958.8 million from gamblers in September, representing a 7.4 percent increase over the same month last year due largely to big betting on baccarat and luck that favored the house, state regulators said Thursday.

September winnings marked the second-highest monthly total for the calendar year behind February, said Mike Lawton, senior analyst with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

A big boxing bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez also lured big bettors to Las Vegas, helping to fuel casino coffers.

"The fight drew in a lot of strong play on the table game side," Lawton said.

Winnings on the Las Vegas Strip of $563.1 million were up 13.4 percent from the same month last year, while downtown Las Vegas revenues of $45.3 million were up 2 percent.

Reno casinos saw their winnings drop 2.3 percent to $48.3 million, while winnings in Washoe County as a whole fell 3.8 percent. South Lake Tahoe saw revenue jump 23.2 percent to $22.1 million in September.

The state collected $62.9 million in taxes based on September gambling winnings. That's an 11.5 percent drop from the same month last year. Taxes don't always correlate with winnings because most high-roller action is played on credit and casinos don't pay taxes on their gains until the gambling debt is paid.

The "win" is what casinos took in after gamblers wagered $11.3 billion. A breakdown shows $2.7 billion was bet on card and dice games while $8.6 billion was pumped into video and slot machines.

Statewide win for game and table games was $377.9 million, up 13.5 percent of $44.9 million. Of that, baccarat, a high-roller game favored by Asian players, accounted for $116.6 million. Baccarat bettors wagered $765.5 million, an increase of $62.8 million or 8.9 percent over September 2012.

Besides the high volume of baccarat play, casinos also were extremely lucky, keeping 15.7 percent of all wagers compared with 11.1 percent last year.

If baccarat winnings are factored out, the statewide win would have been up 3.4 percent or $27.3 million, Lawton said.

For the fiscal year that began July 1, statewide casino winnings are up 3 percent.