9.3 percent decline for land gambling companies

The stressed economic situation continues to impact Nevada land gambling venues according to official figures for August 2009, which show that casinos won $847 million from gamblers in August, a 9.3 percent decline compared with the same month in 2008.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Thursday that monthly revenue for the first two months of the fiscal year that began in July fell nearly 11 percent compared with a year ago.

The latest statistics show that the decline is now in its 20th consecutive month as the recession discourages gamblers from travelling to gamble.

Looking for the positive in the latest numbers, the Board's top analyst Frank Streshley pointed out that August marked the first single-digit decline since May. But he said that in-state gamblers have also cut their gambling spend.

"A good percentage of our growth has [traditionally] come from the local side, and that's been impacted heavily by unemployment and the housing crisis," he said. Nevada's unemployment rate in August hit a record 13.2 percent, the second highest in the nation.

The state collected $49.6 million in casino taxes based on the August revenues, a 9 percent decrease from the same month one year ago.

Gamblers wagered $11.6 billion at slot machines and table games in August, a decline of 13.4 percent. Slot wagering fell 16.9 percent to $9.1 billion, while table game wagers fell 3.7 percent to $2.5 billion.

Streshley noted that wins from the high stakes game of baccarat helped keep the revenue decline from falling even lower. Casinos won $109.5 million on baccarat, up $35.8 million or 48.6 percent, from August 2008. Without that, statewide revenue fell 14.3 percent.

Casino wins on the Las Vegas Strip, which account for about half of all state gambling revenues, fell to $449.5 million, down $44.5 million or 9 percent, the report revealed.

In Washoe County, which includes Reno, revenue dropped nearly 21 percent to $73.9 million - the smallest reported since 1989 and the 26th straight month of decline for the county.

Lake Tahoe's south shore operations declined 29 percent, taking in $21.9 million, the lowest August win since record keeping began in 1983.

Revenue increases were reported in only two Nevada markets, North Las Vegas and Boulder Strip, which reported revenue increases of nearly 22 percent, mainly due to new casinos opening, which boosted year-on-year results.

Gambling revenue fell almost 15 percent in Elko County, 17 percent in Douglas County and 12 percent in Churchill County.

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