August slump was expected by gaming industry |

August slump was expected by gaming industry

Susan Wood

An 18 percent drop in gaming wins for Stateline casinos in August came as disappointing but not surprising news to some gaming interests.

“It’s consistent with what Harrah’s described for the summer months,” Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe General Manager Joe Hasson said Friday. “We didn’t see the foot traffic we would’ve liked.”

Harrah’s has indicated an economic decline in retail play in certain markets, including northern Nevada.

August casino wins for South Lake Tahoe were reported at $36 million, down from $44 million for the same period the prior year.

“I think it’s a reflection of a slow economy this summer,” Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance Executive Director Steve Teshara said.

To ensure autumn will have the best chance of bringing up the drive-up visitors from the Bay Area and Central Valley markets, the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority is running a monthlong radio advertising blitz. Teshara holds the executive director position in this agency.

Mark Rittorno, the new Caesars Tahoe president, has focused much of his time since his arrival at the Stateline casino in getting to know the employees. Some floor staffers updated Rittorno on the recent lagging business in Tahoe that has been accentuated by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

“I’ve talked to the floor, and they’ve noticed a difference,” he said.

Still, Rittorno – a gaming veteran from Las Vegas – wonders if the “effect isn’t as visible” in the shoulder season of fall.

Like Harrah’s, Caesars Tahoe has noticed a decline since Sept. 20.

Harrah’s Entertainment third-quarter results are due to be released next week.

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