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Strip casinos see first gaming win increase since 2007

22-month slide ends with 4.3 percent increase in win

Image

Justin M. Bowen

A view of the Las Vegas Strip in October from the Strip’s south end.

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 | 1:01 p.m.

CARSON CITY – Reversing a 22-month decline, the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip registered an 8.2 percent increase in gaming win in November.

The increase was paced by a 136.2 percent jump in gross win at the 191 baccarat games, the seventh-straight month of an increase in this category. Winnings on sports parlay cards rose 79.7 percent as the pro and college football season was in full swing.

This increase compares with a soft November 2008, when the win on the Strip fell by 14 percent, says Frank Streshley, chief of tax and licensing for the state Gaming Control Board.

The last monthly increase reported by Strip casinos was in December 2007 at 0.8 percent.

The state Gaming Control Board reported today that clubs statewide had a 4.3 percent increase in their gross win, computed before expenses and taxes. It also ended a 22-month decline. The 322 non-restricted casinos had $873.1 million in win.

The state collected $57 million in taxes based on that win, up 28.23 percent from the same month of 2008. The “collections were off the roof,” said Streshley, adding the casinos collected some of the credit previously extended to players.

Part of the increase on the Strip came from the Pacquiao-Cotto fight at the MGM in the middle of the month, said Streshley. That sparked high-end play.

Strong win numbers were posted in North Las Vegas, up 20.7 percent; Boulder Strip had an increase of 18.9 percent and the balance of Clark County had an increase of 18.9 percent, ending 13 months of declining revenues for that sector.

The board reported the Strip casinos won $473.8 million during the month. But for the three-month period ending Nov. 30, the gross win was down 2.1 percent.

Some places in Clark County didn't do as well in November. For the 18th straight month, downtown Las Vegas casinos were down, 1.2 percent; casinos in Laughlin reported a 5.5 percent decline in revenue, the 24th consecutive month of a decline, and Mesquite casinos registered a 15.5 percent decline in gross win, the 10th straight month of a drop.

After 19 straight months of declines, the casinos on the Strip registered a 4 percent increase in win from the 21 games in November. Winnings from craps tables fell 32.4 percent. Roulette win increased 12.3 percent but slot win fell by 3.7 percent for the 17th consecutive month.

While the casinos in Southern Nevada enjoyed some success, the gaming business in Northern Nevada continued to suffer. Washoe County casinos reported a 4.2 percent decline in gross win in November; South Lake Tahoe was off 26.6 percent; Carson City was off 10.5 percent and Elko gaming revenue fell 8.7 percent.

Streshley cautioned that "one month is not a trend.” But he said he received good feedback from casinos on their New Year's business. In a depressed economy, he said the games are usually the first to rebound. He said this was seen in the high-end play on the Strip. Slot machine play is slower to recover, he said.

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