Spending by locals increases
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Las Vegas StripConsumer spending by Las Vegas locals showed a lot of strength during May according to revenue figures released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Gaming revenue generated by casinos in the downtown area, North Las Vegas and Boulder Strip areas all posted wins for the month of May in double digits, compared to the same month a year ago.

North Las Vegas revenue surged 27.81 percent to $27.16 million, the figure posted by Boulder Strip casinos was up 25.87 percent $77.56 million and downtown casinos were 13.11 percent better for the month at $50.42 million compared to the same year earlier period.

The state’s casinos won $958 million in May, down from a little over a billion over a billion in May 2015. Analyst Michael Lawton attributed the drop in part to a tough comparison month last May, when Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fought and the Rock in Rio music festival brought massive crowds to Las Vegas.

“At the end of the day, we were facing a tough comparison,” Lawton said. “We don’t hit $1 billion too many times. Last May was a hugely successful month that was driven by a strong events calendar.”

Las Vegas Strip revenue totaled $531 million in May, down 11.68  percent compared with May 2015. Las Vegas Strip winnings are down 3.8 percent so far this calendar year, more than overall state winnings, which are down 1.1 percent this calendar year.

Markets in the north dipped. Reno casino revenue was down 5 percent to $50 million, while South Lake Tahoe revenue fell 15 percent to $14 million in May.

Nevada’s “tables and games” category saw an 18 percent drop in May. While gambling numbers are often driven by the performance of the high-roller game baccarat, Lawton said poor performance in craps, roulette and sports pools also weighed down the results.

Boyd Gaming appears to be doing a good job of reading the tea leaves, so to speak, having recently agreed to buy the Cannery casinos in North Las Vegas and on Boulder Highway.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: 

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