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Gaming win down at the South Shore

GEOFF DORNAN
Tribune Capitol Bureau

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Statewide gaming win fell 6.8 percent in February – not because this year’s play was weak but because last February’s baccarat win was much higher than normal.

Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton said total win was $881.8 million – some $64.7 million less than the same month a year ago. He said that matches the $65 million decrease in baccarat winnings casinos report for the same period.

Other than that change, this February’s numbers pretty much matched up with those of February 2010, Lawton said.

This is the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases in statewide win and the largest percentage decrease since October 2009. Even so, Lawton said for the seven months reported this fiscal year, total win is basically flat compared to the same period of the previous year.

Because of the huge baccarat win in February 2010, Lawton said, ‘I don’t think anyone expected this to be a positive month.”

He said the unpredictability of baccarat is making it very difficult to project gaming win. He said revenue from that game is down nearly 24 percent in the past four months. For the four month period before that, he said, baccarat win was up 33 percent.

“It’s an absolute rollercoaster,” he said.

South Shore casinos at Stateline saw a relatively small decline of just 2.46 percent this February. But that is on top of the 15.5 percent decline in February 2010. While slot win was up more than 9 percent at the south end of the lake, table games reported an 18.6 percent decrease. Total win was $13.7 million.

North Lake Tahoe casinos reported a decline of 15.5 percent for the month, bringing in a total win of just $1.75 million. That too is because of a rough comparison since February 2010 win at Crystal Bay was up 12 percent from the same month a year before that.

Washoe County was also down, reporting an 8.55 percent decrease to $55.7 million.

The reason both at the lake and in the Reno area was again the impact of Indian casinos in northern California siphoning off customers who formerly came to Nevada.

In the Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, win was down 2.89 percent to $7.59 million. But unlike the state, Carson is up for the fiscal year, albeit by just 1.7 percent.

Total win for Carson’s 20 unrestricted gaming operations, according to Lawton, was down because all of its gaming indicators were negative. Total amounts wagered in both slots and table games and win numbers were all down.

Gaming tax collections for the February business period were down 11.1 percent from the prior year – a difference of $5.2 million. Nonetheless, collections for the year to date total $461.3 million – 1.8 percent ahead of last year.


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