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Cy Ryan

Nevada Gaming Win Rises in January

10 March 2005

CARSON CITY -- Nevada's casino business is doing so well that January's 3.9 percent increase in the amount of money won from gamblers almost seems like a decline.

But after five straight months of double-digit increases, January's $917.1 million gaming win reported today by the state Gaming Control Board still managed to set a record for the first month of the year, the sixth straight month the state's 346 casinos have set monthly records.

Bad winter weather in California and Nevada hurt results on the Las Vegas Strip, downtown Las Vegas and in Reno and South Lake Tahoe, but robust performances in the Las Vegas locals casino markets kept the monthly comparison in the black.

The state's monthly haul of $917.1 million compared with the $882.4 million won from gamblers in January 2004.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said, "Considering the adverse weather conditions in January, I am pleased that we were able to post positive growth for the month."

He said, "Economic conditions remain strong in Nevada and we should see significant growth in the months ahead."

Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the control board, said record rains and mudslides in Southern California hurt leisure travel to Las Vegas. And contributing to that was heavy rain in Southern Nevada.

But the Las Vegas locals market -- Boulder Strip, North Las Vegas and the balance of Clark County casinos -- registered double-digit increases in the money won from bettors.

Streshley said record attendance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas helped offset the weather conditions.

Streshley said the New Year's casino play in Northern Nevada was "wiped out" by a record snowstorm just before the turn of the New Year, weather made worse by heavy fog blanketing the area.

So far this fiscal year the casinos have paid $449.6 million in taxes, or 8.6 percent ahead of the $413.9 million predicted by the Economic Forum. Tax collections in January jumped by 31 percent; Streshley said that was because players paid off their markers from the previous month. Money won from table games slumped 10 percent compared with January 2004, but slot machine winnings rose 12.4 percent for the month. It was an especially good month for the casinos in sports betting, with the win up nearly 150 percent.

The 43 casinos along the Las Vegas Strip posted a win of $484.5 million, an increase of 0.4 percent over the strong performance reported in January 2004, when win was up 12.3 percent.

The board reported statewide win from the table games was $309 million and slot machine gross revenue was $597.9 million.

Gaming win from blackjack games statewide was down 24.8 percent, with craps down 19.2 percent. Baccarat win increased 8.7 percent in the 23 Nevada casinos that offer the big-betting game, while roulette was up 5.9 percent.

Streshley said the money won from football bets, which included college bowl games and the start of the professional playoffs, was up 826.8 percent to $16.9 million. The sports pools held 11.3 percent of what was wagered, compared with an annual 6 percent, meaning the bettors picked a lot more losers.

Multi-denomination slot machines continued their strong performance during the month, rising 78.7 percent. But revenue from the nickel slots was off 22 percent; quarter slots fell 13.7 percent, and the $1 machines were off 10.4 percent.

On the Strip, money won from blackjack games fell 30.1 percent to $60.6 million; craps was down 6.5 percent to $20.4 million; roulette posted a 7.9 percent increase to $22.6 million; and baccarat was up 8.6 percent to $74 million. The board said the Strip's nickel slots grossed $29.3 million, down 12.4 percent; quarter machines reported $49.9 million, off 11.3 percent; and dollar slots were off 14.4 percent to $47.9 million.

Downtown Las Vegas casinos reported $49.7 million in win, down 8.5 percent, the biggest percentage decline since the 10.9 percent slump reported in February 2004. North Las Vegas casinos reported $23.6 million in win, up 30.6 percent. Slot win rose 32.5 percent, and game and table revenue was up 17.6 percent.

The board said clubs in Laughlin won $54.6 million, a gain of 7 percent.

Clubs along the Boulder Strip won $76.2 million, a 34.8 percent increase. Slot win jumped 40.1 percent and table revenue rose 6.2 percent.

Casinos in the balance of Clark County, now the state's second biggest market after the Strip, enjoyed a 24.2 percent increase to $93.1 million. Slot win rose 25.1 percent and table win jumped 18.3 percent.

The board said Washoe County casinos won $67.6 million, a decrease of 8.1 percent when compared with the previous January when there was a 9.3 percent decline, performance Streshley blamed on the bad weather.

South Lake Tahoe casinos, hit hard by the big snowstorms, fell 40.8 percent to $15 million.