Casino Win Down Again

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada casinos had another bad month in March, winning $918.2 million for an 11.6 percent decrease, but regulators said Thursday the slump is well below the average for the past several months.

The decrease compared with the March 2008 win was the 15th consecutive monthly decline, but Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley noted the average for the preceding five months had been 18 percent.

"It's tough to look at this as an improvement, but it's definitely away from the large double-digit declines we have been seeing," Streshley said, adding that resort operators are hoping "the market is finally stabilizing - not recovering but stabilizing."

The $918.2 million win in March was the amount left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $12.2 billion during the month, including $10 billion in slot machine bets and the balance on table games.

The Control Board's report on the casino win shows declines during March in many major markets in the state, including the Las Vegas Strip which was down 12.3 percent.

Elsewhere in southern Nevada, North Las Vegas was up 9.7 percent, Laughlin was off 8.3 percent, downtown Las Vegas declined 2.7 percent, Mesquite was down 29.2 percent and the Boulder Strip was down 4 percent.

In northern Nevada, clubs in Washoe County, which takes in Reno, were down 23.3 percent. It was the 21st consecutive month of declines for the area.

Resorts on Lake Tahoe's south shore reported a 34.1 percent decrease in March compared with the same month a year earlier.

A statewide breakdown shows that slots were off 10.8 percent while table games were down 13.9 percent compared with March 2008.

Slots accounted for $647.3 million of the total win. That included $304.5 million won by multidenomination slots, down 6.8 percent. Penny slots were second with a win of $165.6 million, up 2.1 percent.

Live games, including poker, accounted for the balance of the March total. That included $33.5 million won on baccarat, down 4.4 percent; $94.6 million won on blackjack tables, down 13.8 percent; $35.9 million on craps, down 13.9 percent; and $31.2 million on roulette, up 4.8 percent. Sports books won $6.1 million, down 51.9 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.

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