Anomaly: Tahoe casinos show huge March gain amid statewide decline |

Anomaly: Tahoe casinos show huge March gain amid statewide decline

CARSON CITY ” A soft economy continued to cut into winnings of Nevada casinos during March with a few exceptions ” including Stateline at Lake Tahoe’s south shore which boasted a 54.6 percent gain.

Statewide clubs won $1.04 billion for a 1.5 percent decline compared with the same month a year earlier, a state report showed today.

The slump was the third 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 ninth consecutive monthly slump for the Reno-Sparks-North Tahoe area.

“It goes back to a soft economy,” Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said. “People are tighter with their money and their spending.”

The $1.04 billion win was the amount left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $13.9 billion during March, including $11.5 billion in slot machine bets and the balance on table games.

The March win brought the total win for the fiscal year to date to $9.58 billion. That’s about the same as the total for the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Friday’s Gaming Control Board report follows recent reports showing a continuing slump in sales and higher-than-average unemployment in Nevada.

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 of more than $900 million by mid-2009.

The GCB report shows mixed results during March for major markets in the Las Vegas area. The Las Vegas Strip was down 4.8 percent and Laughlin was down 9.6 percent, while downtown Las Vegas was up 2.5 percent and the Boulder Strip was up 11.4 percent.

In northern Nevada, clubs in Reno were down 3.9 percent while resorts on Lake Tahoe’s south shore were up 54.6 percent. Elko County, in northeastern Nevada, was up 3.2 percent.

The win for the resorts brought the state’s tax take from the clubs to $652.8 million so far this fiscal year. That’s nearly $64.8 million, or 9 percent, below the amount predicted last spring by the state’s Economic Forum.

A breakdown showed that slots were up 2.4 percent in March while table games were down 9.5 percent compared with the same month last year.

Slots accounted for $725.7 million of the total win in March. That included $326.5 million won by multidenomination slots, up 7.8 percent. Penny slots were second with a win of $162.2 million, up 22.9 percent.

Live games, including poker, accounted for the balance of the March total. That included $109.7 million won on blackjack tables, down 14.8 percent; $41.7 million on craps, up 5.4 percent; and $29.8 million on roulette, down 9.9 percent.

The win on baccarat was $35.1 million, down 2.6 percent; and the win on mini-baccarat was $9.5 million, down 31.2 percent.

Sports books won $12.8 million in March, up 26.5 percent. Poker games won $13.7 million, down 9.6 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.

Today figures from the state Gaming Control Board, listing the casino win for the month of March 2008:

“STATEWIDE: $1.04 billion, down 1.5 percent.

“LAS VEGAS STRIP: $517.5 million, down 4.8 percent.

“DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS: $56.7 million, up 2.5 percent.

“NORTH LAS VEGAS: $29.1 million, up 27.2 percent.

“LAUGHLIN: $56.2 million, down 9.6 percent.

“BOULDER STRIP: $81 million, up 11.4 percent.

“MESQUITE: $17.5 million, up 32.3 percent.

“RENO: $62.6 million, down 3.9 percent.

“SPARKS: $13.9 million, down 12.2 percent.

“STATELINE: $29.9 million, up 54.6 percent.

“ELKO COUNTY: $28.2 million, up 3.2 percent.

“CARSON-GARDNERVILLE-MINDEN: $8.9 million, down 18.4 percent.

“CHURCHILL: $2 million, down 1.3 percent.

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