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Bacarrat Props Up Nevada's November Gaming Win

10 January 2003

by Cy Ryan

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- Nevada casinos won $732.4 million in November, up 1.5 percent from the same month a year earlier, due mostly to a strong performance by the high-end baccarat pits on the Las Vegas Strip.

This was the fourth straight month of increased gaming win statewide, but it is being compared to business after the 9/11 terrorist attack when the tourist trade fell off in Nevada. Compared with November 2000, gaming win was down 6 percent.

The state Gaming Control Board reported today that the Las Vegas Strip was the only area in Clark County that produced an increased gaming win, up 6 percent. Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the board, said the Strip was the hardest hit in 2001 after the attack.

Streshley said Nevada casinos won $37.1 million in baccarat in November, up 240 percent. He said the clubs reported a "hold" of 30 percent, compared to a year earlier of 9 percent -- meaning the casinos beat the players by a higher percentage. Without the baccarat increase, the statewide win, which is computed before taxes and business expenses, would have been down 2.1 percent.

The board said the state collected $270.2 million in gaming taxes in the first six months of the current fiscal year (July 1-Dec. 31), a 2.2 percent increase from the same period in 2001.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said that means the state is $21.2 million behind the estimates of the Economic Forum, which the state budget is built on. "The news is bleak when you consider we fell another $3.6 million behind where the Economic Forum projects us to be this month (November)."

He said to meet the predictions of the forum, the casino win will have to grow by nearly 18 percent per month for the remainder of the fiscal year to caught up. That's very unlikely, said the governor.

The board said that statewide table game revenue reached $277.1 million, up 17.4 percent. There were increases in blackjack win of 13.7 percent; craps by 6.4 percent, roulette by 16.3 percent and the sports pool by 16.8 percent.

But slot win fell 6.2 percent to $451 million statewide.

Casinos on the Strip produced $372.4 million in gaming revenue. In 2001 the win was down 16.3 percent. The win in 2002 was down 6.6 percent from two years ago.

Streshley said Strip clubs won $36.6 million in baccarat, up 260.3 percent. Excluding baccarat, the win on the Strip would have been down 1.5 percent.

Bill Bible, president of the Nevada Resort Association, said the November report shows the casinos are winning less than two years ago. And he said that baccarat was the major force in producing a winning month.

"A relatively few people who play baccarat drove up all the state numbers," said Bible. He said these players "rescued" a month, which would have faced a decline.

The board said the 21 games' gross win on the Strip rose 20.8 percent; craps was up 8 percent; roulette rose 20.4 percent but slot win fell 7.4 percent.

Streshley said the Strip performance was helped by two Rolling Stones Concerts in the middle of the month. The Comdex convention drew about the same number as in 2001. But he said the attendance was "very soft" compared to two years ago. The board reported downtown Las Vegas casinos had $50 million in gross win, down 5.5 percent. This was the 11th straight month for a decline or less than 1 percent growth. Slot win fell 8.2 percent -- but table revenue was up 2.7 percent.

North Las Vegas clubs produced $13.4 million, down 16.9 percent from a year ago. Last year the revenues were down 23.1 percent in November. Slot win this year dropped 19.5 percent and table revenue was off 2.1 percent.

Laughlin casinos reported win of $44.3 million, down 1.8 percent. Slot win fell 2.2 percent but game revenue inched up 0.6 percent.

Casinos along the Boulder Strip recorded $45.2 million in gross win, down 3.6 percent. Slot win was off 10.1 percent but table revenue increased 34.7 percent.

Mesquite clubs reported $8.5 million in win, the same as a year ago. Slot win fell 6.3 percent but game revenue rose 41.2 percent.

Casinos in the balance of Clark County reported $58.8 million, down 7.3 percent. Slot win was down 11.9 percent but table win rose 15.3 percent.

The board said Washoe County casinos reported $82.5 million in revenue, up 1.1 percent; South Lake Tahoe clubs registered $21.6 million in win, up 7.6 percent; Elko County clubs reported $18.1 million, a 0.29 percent increase and Carson Valley casinos had $7.7 million, up 1.2 percent.

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