Las Vegas and Nevada as a whole are enjoying the benefits of a billion-dollar month in the casinos. Gaming establishments raked in big bucks during July 2012, thanks mostly to one game in particular.
"A lot of people don't play it unless they're high rollers. So it's a game that's very selective," said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV.
He is talking about baccarat - a game that mystifies those who dare not enter the high roller rooms at the major casinos. It is a game that can and has reaped billions for Las Vegas.
Jeff Voyles of Gaming Network Inc., however, says baccarat as a whole is a volatile bet.
"It can go one way or another, and that's why it's and up and down process... and this month happened to land in our favor," he said via Skype from San Diego.
Nevada casinos raked in more than $189.9 million from baccarat alone in July. During the same month last year, that number was only $89.6 million - an increase of more than 100 percent.
Slot revenues are typically used to measure success and saw less than a $50 million gain over July 2011.
"It's not a good of a sign as people think it is," said Schwartz.
Despite the state earning more than a billion dollars, Schwartz said other factors are at play - notably the fact that with Las Vegas visitation down 0.8 percent over the same time last year, the tourists are still not spending as much money as they did in 2007.
"That's a little bit dangerous for the economy because when you have so much of the gaming win concentrated in the high end rooms - there's only so many of those - you don't have those bigger economic effects that you would see with more people being hired and things like that if it was broader-based," Schwartz said.
Voyles contends that a billion-dollar month is still a billion-dollar month. But experts add the casinos need to see stronger and continuous gains before saying officially that Las Vegas is back.
Recently, the lowest statewide revenue for the month of July came two years ago with just over $829 million - a difference of more than $176 million.
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