LAS VEGAS — Nevada casino fortunes rose 1.5 percent in September to $916 million compared to a year ago with the gambling houses keeping more of what was wagered on table games, according to the latest statistics from the state's Gaming Control Board.
Monthly figures released Thursday showed gambling revenue rose in Clark County including 2 percent on the Las Vegas Strip to $504.8 million and 9 percent in the downtown Fremont Street corridor to $47.5 million.
At the same time, McCarran International Airport officials said 6 percent more passengers visited the Las Vegas area during the month, and MGM Resorts reported strong third-quarter earners bolstered by what CEO Jim Murren described as robust economic growth within the destination.
It was only the third time this year that the gambling revenue figures weren't felled by severe swings of luck or spending on the lucrative table game of baccarat. After falling last September, the game earned casinos $100.7 million in the month this year, up 21.6 percent.
The percentage of what casinos kept from table games and sports betting increased in nearly every category except roulette which dropped 31.6 percent to $21 million and slight drops in mini-baccarat, pai gow poker, horse racing and sports books.
Overall, gamblers spent $11.2 billion in Nevada casinos, with spending up 3.8 percent on table games and at sports books and up 1.7 percent on slots.
Slot machine revenue dropped nearly 1.8 percent to $572.4 million.
Brent Pirosch with CBRE's Global Gaming Group in Las Vegas pointed to downtown Fremont Street's year-over-year performance, up every month except January in 2015, as a sign of overall improvement for the "mass market" of gamblers, not counting revenue from baccarat and mini-baccarat games that cater to high-rollers in fewer casinos.
"I kind of like downtown's story right now. It's gotten a lot better," he said. "They're figuring it out."
Nationwide, with the exception of Delaware which hasn't reported its statistics yet, Pirosch says gambling revenue is up 1.9 percent.
"It's slow and steady," he said.
The agency says gambling revenue rose 8 percent in Washoe County, which includes Reno and Sparks, to $71.4 million and increased 4.8 percent in Elko County to $22.2 million. Revenue from casinos in South Lake Tahoe dropped 10.6 percent to $21.2 million.
The state says it collected $58.1 million in fees this month based on September's revenue but that amount represented a 12.2 percent drop compared to a year ago.