CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A soft economy continued to cut into winnings of Nevada casinos during April as the clubs won $1 billion
for a 5 percent decline compared with the same month a year earlier, a state report showed Wednesday.
The slump was the fourth consecutive monthly decline statewide. A market-by-market breakdown in the Gaming Control Board report showed a similar month-over-month decline for the Las Vegas Strip -
and the 10th consecutive monthly slump for the Reno-Sparks-North
"People are still coming in and playing. They're just not playing as much," Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said.
Streshley said the $1 billion win was the amount left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $12.7 billion during April, including $10.5 billion in slot machine bets and the balance on table games. Like the casino win slump, the total amount wagered also has been down for four straight months.
The April win brought the total win for the fiscal year to date to $10.58 billion. That's 0.5 percent below the total for the same period in the previous fiscal year.
Wednesday's Gaming Control Board report follows recent reports showing a continuing slump in sales by Nevada merchants and higher-than-average unemployment in the state.
Taxes on casinos and on sales are the two largest revenue sources for state government. The slump in those revenues has been a key part of an analysis that the state will have a revenue shortfall now likely to top $1 billion by mid-2009.
The GCB report shows declines during April for all major markets in the Las Vegas area. The Las Vegas Strip was down 1.3 percent and Laughlin was down 6.4 percent, while downtown Las Vegas was down 6.8 percent, North Las Vegas was down 22.4 percent, Mesquite was down 34.6 percent and the Boulder Strip was down 12.2 percent.
In northern Nevada, clubs in Reno were down 12 percent while resorts in Elko County, in northeastern Nevada, was down 3.9 percent.
Resorts on Lake Tahoe's south shore were up 12.7 percent thanks mainly to luckless blackjack players, making the market the only major one in the state to post a double-digit gain for the month.
The win for the resorts brought the state's tax take from the clubs to $707.9 million so far this fiscal year. That's nearly $70 million, or 9 percent, below the amount predicted last spring by the state's Economic Forum.
A breakdown showed that slots were down 8.9 percent in April while table games were up 4.4 percent compared with the same month last year.
Slots accounted for $671.6 million of the total win in April. That included $298.9 million won by multidenomination slots, down 3.9 percent. Penny slots were second with a win of $151.7 million, up 10.3 percent.
Live games, including poker, accounted for the balance of the April total. That included $123 million won on blackjack tables, up 12.3 percent; $35.7 million on craps, down 1.5 percent; and $27.1 million on roulette, down 1.4 percent.
The win on baccarat was $60 million, down 0.6 percent; and the win on mini-baccarat was $8 million, down 22.4 percent.
Sports books won $8.8 million in March, up 237 percent. Poker games won $12.2 million, down 8.4 percent.
"Win" is a gross figure, with no operating costs or other expenses deducted. It represents casino revenue only, not hotel, restaurant or bar revenues.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)