Casino Win Up 3.4 Percent So Far This Fiscal Year

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A strong February win of $876 million for Nevada casinos increased their fiscal-year total to $6.59 billion - up 3.4 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

State revenues based on the fiscal-year total amounted to $485.3 million, according to a state Gaming Control Board report Thursday. That's 3.7 percent or $17.5 million higher than a May 2003 forecast by the state's Economic Forum.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said the 3.4 percent gain for the fiscal year to date "provides us with a modest cushion" for the balance of the year. But he added healthy growth must continue to meet the casino revenue forecast.

The Control Board's Frank Streshley said the $876 million win in February was up 15.9 percent compared with the same month in 2003. That's the highest monthly gain in more than four years, he added.

"It was just a great month," Streshley said, adding that resorts were helped by an additional day from leap year and the Super Bowl falling in February. He predicted a pattern of strong monthly percentage gains going into the summer.

All major casino markets around the state showed gains except for clubs on Lake Tahoe's south shore, which won $25.6 million for a 2.1 percent slump.

The Las Vegas Strip win of $444.7 million was up 19.5 percent while downtown Las Vegas clubs won $57.5 million, up 4 percent. The downtown win occurred despite two casino closings.

Casinos in North Las Vegas won $22.5 million, up 20.3 percent; and Boulder Strip resorts won $64.4 million, up 17.2 percent.

In the Reno-Sparks-North Tahoe area, good weather helped to produce a record February win of $80.8 million, up 8.1 percent. That's only the second monthly percentage increase since the opening of the Thunder Valley Indian gambling casino near Auburn, Calif.

Elsewhere in the north, Elko County winnings of $19 million were down 9.6 percent; and the Minden-Carson City win of $8.6 million was up 11.7 percent.

The win is what was left in casino coffers from $11.9 billion bet by gamblers during February. "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 $876 million statewide win included $569.5 million from slot machines and $299.8 million from table games.

Games that produced the most revenue included blackjack at $107.5 million; craps at $38.3 million; and baccarat at $53.3 million. Poker games won $6.7 million.

Dollar slots won $98 million; quarter slots won $156.2 million; nickel slots won $109 million; and multidenomination slots won $116.7 million.