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Cy Ryan

Strip casinos see 6.3 percent drop in winnings

13 July 2009

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- Casinos along the Las Vegas Strip won $480.8 million in May, making it the 17th straight month of a fall in revenues.

The state Gaming Control Board said the win, before taxes and business expenses, dropped by 6.3 percent at the 41 casinos on the Strip compared to May 2008. But it ended a seven-month string of double-digit declines.

Positive signs were the wins in baccarat, up 38.5 percent, roulette increased 24.1 percent and the penny slot machines inched up 4.1 percent.

The board reported the win statewide dropped to $889 million, down 8.34 percent from the same month of a year ago. And that compares to May 2008, when gross win was down 15.2 percent.

And the past fiscal year the state has collected $655.4 million in taxes from the casinos, a decrease of 15 percent.

Frank Streshley, chief of tax and licensing for the board, said "We thought it would be a lot better."

Streshley said the weekends are improving with the volume of visitors increasing but the weekdays are still slow.

May was a strong special events month. There was the Pacquiao-Hatton fight and concerts by Jimmy Buffet and Dave Matthews and an Ultimate Fighting Championship event, all at the MGM Grand. The Strip accounts for more than half of the gaming business in Nevada.

Win at the downtown Las Vegas casinos fell to $43.2 million, a 10.6 percent drop and the 11th straight month of a decline.

For the fourth straight month, casinos in North Las Vegas posted an increase, up 2.8 percent to $20.8 million. That's due in part to the Aliante Station casino that was not open in May 2008.

The board said clubs on the Boulder Strip reported $64.4 million in gross win, up 10.3 percent. The increase is due to the opening in March this year of the M Resort, which is included in those numbers.

Casinos in Laughlin won $41.2 million, down 15 percent; Mesquite clubs had $10.4 million, off 22 percent, and the clubs in the balance of Clark County reported $86.5 million, down 19.5 percent.

On the Strip, winnings in the 21 games fell 12.2 percent; craps was off 20.7 percent and the sports pool was down 54.6 percent. In April the sports pools were down 31.1 percent.

The 49,368 slot machines on the Strip had $226.1 million in win, a decline of 16.7 percent compared to the same month of a year ago.

For the 23rd straight month, casinos in Washoe County reported a decline. The win fell to $76.4 million, off 8.6 percent.

The board said South Lake Tahoe clubs won $18.1 million, down 25.5 percent. Elko County clubs reported gross win of $23.8 million, down 5.6 percent and the Carson Valley area had $9.4 million in winnings, off 16.2 percent.