Slot numbers down at Vegas land based casinos

This week's business report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board had some depressing news for land casino operators - slot wagering volumes, which deliver around two thirds of Nevada gaming revenues, are down.

The report reveals that slot players wagered $1.1 billion less on slots in July than the same month a year ago, with volumes on the Vegas Strip down by $500 million.

Slot volume fell 12 percent in July 2008 compared with the same period a year ago, and constituted the worst drop in the past seven straight months that slot spending has been on the decline. In June 2008 slot volumes fell 10 percent compared to June 2007, indicating an accelerating rate of decline.

Operators are hoping that an easing in the price of gasoline will bring players back and halt the downward spiral.

The good news in the report was that table game play actually improved, rising 5 percent on the Strip for high end as well as typically lower end games: Baccarat play was up 15 percent and blackjack rose 7 percent. Despite these encouraging numbers, Strip casinos won 21 percent less from table game players in July, mainly because players were just lucky, winning a greater percentage of wagers than is usually the case.

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