Record year for gaming |

Record year for gaming

Records for total winnings were set in all 12 months of 2005, resulting in an $11.65 billion total win for Nevada casinos – and another record.

That is a 10.3 percent increase over 2004, which also was up 9.7 percent from the year before.

Nevada’s gaming industry has shown a dramatic recovery from the three-year slump that followed the nation’s economic problems and the effects of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the state’s tourist economy, said Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley.

Both 2001 and 2002 win totals were less than 2000’s $9.6 billion. It took until 2003 to get back to that total.

Two areas of the state reported a decline in total win for the year – downtown Las Vegas and Stateline at Lake Tahoe. Casino win on the south shore of Lake Tahoe was off eight-tenths of a percent in 2005, the same amount it increased in 2004. The total win at Stateline was $335.4 million.

Streshley said Lake Tahoe casinos are vulnerable to weather and have been hurt in recent years both by Indian gaming in California and cheap airfares and tour packages from the Bay area to Las Vegas.

Washoe County suffers the same problems, but managed to increase casino win for a second straight year in 2005. That follows three years of declining totals blamed primarily on Indian casinos. Win in Washoe was up 2.3 percent to $1.05 billion in 2005.

Carson Valley casinos, which includes valley casinos in Douglas as well as the capital city, reported a record total win as well – $124.6 million. Streshley said the area’s average growth over the past decade was 6.5 percent, which makes Carson Valley the fastest growing gaming area outside Clark County.

Outlying casinos in Clark County passed that total just slightly – $1.07 billion – pushing Washoe County down to third biggest gaming area in the state.

Lake Tahoe’s north shore casinos increased total win by 3 percent in 2005. That follows a 13 percent increase last year primarily due to the reopening of the Crystal Bay Club. Total win this year was $42.8 million.

A healthy economy helped by the resurgence of the mining industry gave Elko County casinos a record in 2005 as well. Total win there was up 11.2 percent to $258.4 million.

The largest single event pushing statewide totals upward in 2005 was April’s opening of Wynn Las Vegas, the first major resort to open on the Strip since the Aladdin in 2000.

Overall, slot win was up 9.4 percent in 2005, but game and table win increased 12.1 percent. The biggest increase was in baccarat win, which rose 39 percent to $665.5 million.

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