Casinos Post 1.2 Percent Fiscal Year-to-Date Gain

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Four months into the fiscal year, Nevada casinos have posted winnings that are just 1.2 percent above the same period a year earlier - well below a hoped-for average of about 7 percent by the time the current fiscal period ends.

"To meet our projections for the fiscal year, gaming will have to post strong sustained growth for the remainder of the year," Gov. Kenny Guinn warned Wednesday as the state Gaming Control Board released its latest casino win report.

The report showed an October win of $819.5 million, up 1.5 percent compared with the same month in 2002; and a fiscal-year-to-date statewide total of $3.3 billion, up 1.2 percent.

The Control Board's Frank Streshley said the October win stemmed mainly from live table games which were up 5 percent. Slot machine win was down 0.2 percent.

State taxes based on the win were up 4.8 percent in October over forecast amounts. But Streshley said that will be tough to sustain unless there's more growth in the overall win. The tax collection total so far this fiscal year is $261.6 million.

A breakdown shows the Las Vegas Strip win of $409 million was up 3.5 percent, but Streshley said that's disappointing because stronger high-end action from gamblers had been expected because of the Evander Holyfield-James Toney prize fight in Las Vegas.

Elsewhere in southern Nevada, downtown Las Vegas clubs won $57.8 million for a slight 0.06 percent slump. Clubs in North Las Vegas won $18.2 million, down 4.6 percent; and Boulder Strip resorts won $53.8 million, down 12.2 percent.

In the Reno-Sparks and Tahoe areas, Streshley said competition from the new Thunder Valley tribal casino near Auburn, Calif., appeared to ease as the clubs won $90 million for a slight 0.9 percent gain. That was the first increase for the area since May.

Casinos on Tahoe's south shore won $26.8 million for a 3.8 percent gain. That gives the south shore resorts two positive months out of the past seven.

Elsewhere in the north, Elko County winnings of $18.2 million were down 5.9 percent; and the Minden-Carson City win of $9.1 million was up 9.6 percent.

The win is what was left in casino coffers from $11.9 billion bet by gamblers during October. "Win" is a gross figure, with no operating costs or other expenses deducted. And it's casino revenue only - separate from hotel, restaurant or bar revenues generated by the resorts.

The $819.5 million statewide win included $563.2 million from slot machines and $250.4 million from table games.

Games that produced the most revenue included blackjack at $96.5 million; craps at $39 million; and baccarat at $21.9 million. Sports books won $6.6 million.

Dollar slots won $103 million; quarter slots won $167.1 million; and nickel slots won $115.4 million.