Gaming finishes fiscal year 3.7 percent in the red

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Battered by the economic slump and the effects of Sept. 11, Nevada casinos posted their worst year in a decade, finishing the fiscal year 3.7 percent behind the total winnings reported for 2001.

But almost alone in the state, the Carson Valley area defied the trend, recording a 2.93 percent increase in June and finishing the year 6.8 percent above last year.

Total winnings reported for the year were $9.3 billion compared with $9.66 billion in fiscal 2001.

The drop is in sharp contrast to the 5.1 percent increase gaming win has averaged for the past decade.

While state officials have been hoping for a sign the worst was over for several months, they found no comfort in the June numbers, which were down 7.96 percent from the same month last year.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said the numbers are particularly bad for the state in view of the fact the current budget was built on projections of a 5 percent increase in gaming win. Viewed with that in mind, Guinn said the June win report is actually 13 percent less than the state planned for.

Total win for the year in the Carson Valley -- which includes the valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital city -- was $96.5 million. The June win in Carson Valley was $8 million.

The only other places which recorded positive numbers for the year were the Boulder Highway, Mesquite and outlying parts of Clark County -- which have all had major expansions and new casinos open. Rural parts of Washoe and Elko counties also showed an increase.

Downtown Las Vegas, the Strip, Laughlin and North Las Vegas, Reno and Sparks, both reporting areas at Lake Tahoe and Wendover all reported overall win down from the previous fiscal year.

And the Strip -- which generates half the state's total gaming revenue -- was hit harder than almost anywhere else, falling 7 percent behind last year's totals.

Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said the drop was especially noticeable in high rollers, who he said "just weren't coming to the Strip" after Sept. 11. As a result, a disproportionate share of the game and table decrease can be blamed on Baccarat, which decreased 36 percent for the year.

Throughout the state, gaming regulators report game and table play decreased more dramatically than slot play -- 11.7 percent compared with 2.2 percent.

While South Shore casinos were down 3.1 percent for the year, they finished with a good June -- 3 percent up from the same month of 2001. Total win for June was $28.66 million. The total for the year was $333.9 million.

North Tahoe was down 6.27 percent for the month and finished fiscal 2002 2.6 percent below last year. Total win reported there was $3.2 million for June and $41 million for the year.


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