By Ken Ritter
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Nevada casinos took in nearly $1.06 billion in winnings last month, reaching a high for 2019 and a record for September in a key index of state fiscal health, regulators said Wednesday.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported a 6.8% increase in the monthly gaming win, compared with the same month a year ago.

Board analyst Michael Lawton noted it was the fourth straight increase in the year-to-year comparison.

“It was the fifth billion-dollar month for the year and the highest September in state history,” Lawton said. “We’re trending nicely after a slow start for the year.”

Lawton attributed the healthy report to an increase in slot machine play and results from casinos on the Las Vegas Strip and surrounding Clark County, which together reported a year-to-year monthly increase of nearly 8.3%.

Reno and surrounding Washoe County reported casino winnings down 3.4% in September in the yearto-year comparison.

Overall house winnings on the Las Vegas Strip, where most of the state’s gambling business is done, were up nearly 5.8% for the first three months of the fiscal year beginning in July. Statewide, the figure was up almost 4.7%.

Casino winnings on slot machine play increased $52.7 million statewide during the month, up 8.3% compared with September 2018.

“More play, more win,” Lawton said, adding that it marked the seventh consecutive monthly increase in slot volume.

Casino baccarat winnings swung to a 54% increase for the month, at $38 million, despite a decrease in volume of play. Lawton termed baccarat results “choppy” for the year, down 9.3%.

The report said the state took in almost $66.4 million in taxes on the September 2019 figures.

The tally last month topped the previous September best by about $1,000.

Lawton said October 2007 was the best month ever for casino winnings in Nevada, at $1.165 billion.

Gambling tax revenues make up about 18% of the state’s $14 billion annual budget, second only to sales taxes. Nevada has no state income tax.