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Cy Ryan

Nevada Casinos Enjoy Record Month in April

9 June 2005

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- April was a banner month, the best April on record for Nevada casinos, as the opening of Wynn Las Vegas, big baccarat winnings and the continuing strength of the Las Vegas locals market drove the state's robust performance.

The state Gaming Control Board reported today that Nevada's 347 casinos won $878.2 million from gamblers in April, up 6.1 percent compared with the $827.5 million won in April 2004. The casinos have been posting record months since August 2004.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said, "The April 28th opening of Wynn Las Vegas marks the start of the next major expansion cycle for Las Vegas' gaming industry with several announced projects in excess of $1 billion coming on-line over the next several years."

Guinn said, "This investment demonstrates the strong trends in Las Vegas that are driving significant growth in hotel, gaming and entertainment businesses."

Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the board, said a concert by Jimmy Buffett at the MGM in the middle of the month was also a big draw.

Streshley said that while the win was up only 6.1 percent, it was a tough comparison, coming on top of a big performance in April 2004 when the win jumped 11.1 percent.

He said casinos reported strong slot play but table action was slow until the opening of Wynn Las Vegas, the first Strip megaresort to open since the Aladdin opened in August 2000. Many high-end players didn't gamble until late in the month, Streshley said, noting that baccarat play was especially strong along the Strip.

Statewide, slots won $594.6 million, up 4.7 percent and table games won $272.9 million, an increase of 8.4 percent. Statewide baccarat win jumped 74 percent to $48.6 million, more than offsetting a 10.5 percent drop in blackjack win, to $90.2 million.

Money won from gamblers on the Las Vegas Strip reached $447.6 million, up 8 percent but downtown Las Vegas recorded a drop of 3.8 percent in money won, to $52 million.

Gaming win is computed before taxes and business expenses.

Statewide, the craps win rose 8.2 percent to $37.1 million; roulette inched up 3.6 percent to $21.6 million and the sports pools won $5.9 million, up 61.6 percent.

Streshley said the Major League Baseball season opened and bettors lost more than usual to the casinos. He said the usual "hold" -- the amount the casinos end up keeping after winning bets are paid off -- by the sports books on baseball is 3 percent but it jumped to 8.6 percent in April.

The 43 casinos along the Las Vegas Strip reported slot win of $243.1 million, up 3.8 percent. Table games jumped 12.3 percent to $198.1 million.

The board said blackjack games on the Strip won $60.1 million, an 11.5 percent decline from April 2004. Craps revenue rose 12.2 percent to $25.2 million; roulette was up 1.5 percent to $15.9 million and baccarat skyrocketed 77.5 percent to $48.3 million.

The casinos reported a hold of 17 percent in baccarat, compared to the annual 12.1 percent.

Sports pool win in the Strip casinos rose 16.8 percent to $2.1 million.

The 19 casinos in downtown Las Vegas reported slot win of $38.7 million, down 1.1 percent and table games fell 10.1 percent to $12.7 million.

The board said gaming win in North Las Vegas rose 18.6 percent to $18.6 million, the second consecutive month with a double-digit increase. Laughlin casinos reported $54 million in win, an increase of 2.6 percent. Winnings in the Boulder Strip clubs grew 9.3 percent to $61.7 million.

Mesquite casinos won $10.8 million, down 0.4 percent. It was the first time in more than two years that there has been a decline in the month-to-month comparison in Mesquite.

Casinos in the balance of Clark County market recorded a 5.3 percent increase to $78.6 million. This breaks a string of four consecutive months of double-digit increases.

Casinos in Washoe County reported $84.7 million, up 0.7 percent; South Lake Tahoe fell 5.2 percent to $23.6 million; Elko County gaming grew 17.6 percent to $22.3 million and the Carson Valley area jumped 18.7 percent to $10.7 million. It was the biggest percentage increase in the Carson Valley area in more than a year.