State gaming win begins to show economic effects
Thanks to the California power crisis and the closing of the Ormsby House, Carson City finished the calendar year with its third straight month of negative gaming numbers.
Nevada’s gaming numbers statewide seem to be showing the effects of a national economic slowdown.
Total statewide win for calendar 2000 was still up by 6.4 percent to $9.6 billion – a bit better than the 5.9 percent average for the past decade.
But according to Gaming Control Board Analyst Frank Streshley, the figures changed markedly from the first half of 2000 to the second half of the year, dropping from 9.9 percent to just 3.1 percent.
That compares to an overall increase of 11.1 percent in calendar 1999.
He said there is no hard data to prove why that happened but that the best guess is the economy.
“That and what’s going on in California with their energy crisis,” he said pointing out that dramatic increases in electric and gas bills for many of Nevada’s Southern California customers are cutting into disposable income.
“That’s got to be having an effect on our gaming win,” he said.
Casinos in the Capital and the Carson Valley portion of Douglas County were off 5.54 percent from December 1999, bringing in $6.9 million in total win. That follows declines of 2.15 percent in October and 6.1 percent in November.
Carson area casinos finished the calendar year just 2.2 percent up from 1999 compared to 8.7 percent in 1999. But that was the year Slot World opened but before the Ormsby House closed.
And like the state as a whole, the first half of Carson’s year was much better than the second – 3.9 percent versus six-tenths of a percent.
At the same time, South Shore casinos at Stateline defied the trends in the rest of the state, posting a 7.5 percent growth in win for the year – the strongest growth in a decade. The average growth at South Shore over the past 10 years has been a half-percent.
And, further defying statewide trends, the lake area grew just 4.1 percent the first six months but 10.3 percent the second half of the year.
“You tell me why,” said Streshley. He said in recent months, Tahoe executives have credited their individual and joint marketing efforts to draw players.
Overall, Streshley said Nevada casinos won $9.6 billion out of about $142 billion wagered in the state. Two thirds of that, $6.2 billion, came from slot machines. Game and table winnings totaled $3.4 billion.
The biggest growth came from nickel slot machines which increased winnings by 32.2 percent in 2000. That follows a 36.5 percent growth in 1999. Nickel slots now account for 24.1 percent of total slot winnings – double the percentage of the market they held in 1990.
Gaming experts say the reason is the new, creative slots that allow players many more betting options and enable betting many coins per play.
The biggest winner for casinos, however, is still the quarter slots which generated 39.8 percent of total win in 2000.
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