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Cy Ryan

Strong Slot Play Boosts September Gaming Win

10 November 2003

CARSON CITY -- After a down month in August, Nevada casinos bounced back in September to report $841.5 million in winnings, up 3.9 percent from a year ago, the state reported today.

And it was the slot machines that carried the day, while winnings from table games fell.

All markets in Clark County, except for downtown Las Vegas and Laughlin, showed increased gross revenue, computed before taxes and business expenses. But most of Northern Nevada, facing increased competition from Indian casinos in California, suffered a decline in casino winnings.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said, "The gaming win posted this month is positive, but not as strong as we projected." He said the increase of nearly 4 percent "does not keep up with the growth of our state, which continues to lead the nation."

"I am concerned with the continuing decline in gaming revenue in the northern part of the state that is only partially offset by continued growth in Southern Nevada," Guinn said.

The State Gaming Control Board reported today it collected $63.3 million in taxes for the month but that was $462,231 below projections. However for this fiscal year, casino taxes total $206 million, which is $10.6 million or 5.2 percent higher than predicted.

The casinos in August registered a drop of 3 percent in their gross win but recovered this month, mostly on the backs of Southern Nevada casinos.

Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the Control Board, said slot win statewide rose 8.5 percent. Win from 21 increased 7.2 percent; craps was down 11.6 percent; baccarat inched up 0.8 percent but sports pool was off 16.2 percent. After a decline of 10.4 percent last month, the board said clubs along the Las Vegas Strip won $421.1 million, a 7.7 percent increase over the same month last year.

Streshley said the results were "somewhat disappointing" because the Strip hosted the Oscar De La Hoya-Shane Mosley championship fight, one of the biggest bouts in a long time. He said more table revenue was expected.

Table win on the Strip fell to $178.9 million, down 2.8 percent but slot revenue jumped by 17 percent to $239.2 million.

Streshley said winnings on the 21 games were up 22.1 percent; craps was off 14.4 percent; baccarat increased only 1.7 percent and the sports pool fell by 15.2 percent compared to a year ago on the Strip.

After three straight months of increases, winnings in downtown Las Vegas clubs dropped 5.9 percent in September to $51.3 million. The casinos in "Glitter Gulch" are the fourth largest market in Clark County, behind the Strip, Boulder Strip and the balance of Clark County. Slot win was down 4.7 percent and table revenue was off 9.9 percent.

For the second straight month, clubs along the Boulder Strip posted double digit increases in winnings, reporting $66.2 million in gross revenue, a gain of 16 percent from a year ago. The 16.5 percent compares with a 22.5 increase in September a year ago. Slot win rose 20.3 percent but game and table revenue fell by 9 percent.

North Las Vegas casinos registered winnings of $21.1 million, an increase of 28.7 percent and the fourth consecutive month of double-digit increases. Slot win shot up 32.4 percent but table revenue was down 2.2 percent.

The board said Laughlin casinos reported $44 million in gross win, down 0.43 percent.

Slot win was off 0.2 percent and table revenue fell 3 percent.

Winnings in the balance of Clark County totaled $71.1 million, up 0.26 percent. Slot win inched up 0.4 percent but table games were down 0.8 percent.

Mesquite casinos registered a 1 percent increase in gaming win to $8.8 million. The board said slot revenue rose 4 percent but table win was off 15.1 percent.

Streshley said Washoe County experienced its lowest gross win in 11 years, mostly because of competition from the Indian-owned Thunder Valley casino near Sacramento and a soft economy in Northern California.

The board said that for the fourth straight month, gross revenue in Washoe County declined from a year ago. The clubs reported $86 million in win, down 7.8 percent. It's the biggest percentage decline since June and 10th month in the last 12 of lower gross win.

Streshley said the table win has been hit the hardest since the opening of the Indian casino this summer. Revenue from table games was off 19.7 percent, compared to September 2002. Slot win dropped 3.8 percent.

The report came on the same day as the closure of the Sundowner Hotel Casino because of reported losses. The club has operated in downtown Reno since 1975. Up to 300 employees were affected. It had scheduled to close Dec. 1 but shut down early.

The board said winnings at South Lake Tahoe dropped 4.1 percent to $32 million, the fifth decline in the last six months. Winnings from slot machines rose 3.9 percent but table games were off 21.4 percent

Elko County casinos fell 8.8 percent to $18.6 million. Slot win was down 10.5 percent and table play was off 2.8 percent.

Clubs in the Carson Valley area reported $9.1 million, up 2.2 percent and the only increase in the major northern market. It was the fifth straight month of higher winnings compared to a year ago. Slot win rose 10.5 percent but table win was off 2.8 percent.