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Strip casino winnings down for 22nd month

Updated Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 | 11:03 a.m.

CARSON CITY – For the 22nd consecutive month, gambling winnings on the Las Vegas Strip fell, dropping 10.2 percent in October with baccarat the only bright spot.

For six straight months, the baccarat win on the Strip increased – this time by 61 percent.

Bill Bible, president of the Nevada Resort Association, said “high end players” are holding up the revenue stream. He said these are the players who don’t feel the global economic pinch.

“They are more insulated because of their individual wealth,” Bible said.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported today that gaming win, before business expenses and taxes, totaled $800.3 million statewide or an 11.5 percent decrease from a year ago in October.

Frank Streshley, chief of tax and licensing for the board, said this 11.25 percent statewide decrease compares to a 22.3 percent decline in a year ago. And the $800.3 million was the lowest monthly total since December 2003, he said.

Streshley called October a “disappointment” because there was a flattening out of the declines in August and September. There were only single-digit decreases and a better showing was expected.

Gaming winnings fell in every major market except North Las Vegas, which grew by 3.3 percent. Streshley said, however, that compares to a 34.5 percent decline in October 2008. And the Aliante Station casino wasn't open in October 2008.

Gaming win in downtown Las Vegas fell to $426.2 million, or a 16.4 percent decline. Casinos in Laughlin won $36.9 million, or 19.1 percent less than a year ago. Boulder Strip casinos reported win of $58.9 million, or a 6.3 percent drop.

Mesquite gaming was off 14 percent to $10.2 million and the casinos in the balance of Clark County had winnings of $81.3 million, down 14.3 percent.

On the Strip, baccarat winnings have increased each month since May at the 15 casinos that have the game. Winnings rose 30.4 percent in September and 48.5 percent in August. In October the casinos won $64.7 million.

The $64.7 million in winnings was more than all the casinos in Reno won on all their games and slot machines. Streshley said Strip casinos won $25 million more this year in baccarat than a year ago.

The board said Strip casinos won $426.2 million in October, or 10.2 percent below October of a year ago.

Winnings from the 21 games at the Strip casinos fell by 38.2 percent, the 18th straight month of a decline. The board reported the win from craps was down 10.6 percent in October and roulette was off 15.2 percent.

But the sports books won $9.7 million, up 21.7 percent, capitalizing on poor choices by bettors on football and sports parlay cards.

Slot win at Strip casinos fell by 10.2 percent. Only the penny machines showed a modest 2.2 percent increase in win.

Streshley said Clark County casinos were helped by a sold-out concert of U2 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The board reported Washoe County casinos won $67.2 million, off 13.8 percent and down for the 28th straight month. South Lake Tahoe fell $24.1 percent to $15.8 million; Elko County was down 10.4 percent to $21.6 million and Carson Valley casinos were down 7.3 percent to $9.2 million.

The board said $49.2 million in taxes were collected during November based on the taxable revenues in October. That's a 12.6 percent decline. For this fiscal year, the casino tax collections are off 10.3 percent.

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