Bad news plagues South Shore gaming income |

Bad news plagues South Shore gaming income

It’s not good news.

South Shore’s five casinos last year posted a 34 percent decrease compared to the previous year’s total of $52.8 million.

Stateline combined net income of $34.8 million during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 1998, according a report in “Nevada Gaming Abstract – 1998” released Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

“It’s the third consecutive year that the net income has declined (on South Shore) vs. the previous year,” said control board spokesman Russell Guindon. “Of the three years, this is the largest decline.”

The net income is counted after expenses but before payment of federal taxes and extraordinary expenses.

Stateline casinos had a total revenue – the money spent by patrons on gaming, rooms, food, beverage and other attractions – totaling $477.2 million, down 3.2 percent compared to the 1997 fiscal year.

Why the difference in the percentage change between total revenues at minus 3.2 and net income at minus 34 percent?

“It implies the expenses were larger than a year ago,” Guindon said. “Gaming revenue was the leading contributor (to the decrease).”

Gaming revenue – the casinos’ gaming income after payouts – was down 5.4 percent for the year at $289.3 million, according to the report. Reports on gaming revenue, or “winnings,” are released monthly and have shown a generally downward trend in recent years.

The 200-page gaming abstract that was just released is a more financially detailed report than the gaming revenue reports, Guindon said, and takes into account all sources of casino income.

The big drop could reflect the harsh winter conditions during the first few months of 1998, said John Packer, director of marketing at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. The community did not get back on its economic feet until summer, after the gaming board closed its 1998 fiscal year books.

High-rolling baccarat players, who play and sometimes win a million dollars in a hand, can also skew the numbers. A house loss “would drag down the net income considerably,” Packer said. “One player can affect it a lot.”

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