October deals state good hand

October was another good month for Nevada, as it battles back from recession and the effects of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the 4.6 percent overall increase in gaming win wasn't enough to erase a deficit built up over the first three months of fiscal 2003.

The Carson City area reported a tiny decrease in gaming win for only the second time in 20 months because slot play dropped 1.6 percent.

State budget officials say tax revenues from gaming in Nevada are now $17.6 million below what the Economic Forum projected.

All of the $35.7 million increase over total win reported for October 2001 came from the Las Vegas Strip. But Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said the Strip wasn't really up -- it's 10.4 percent jump just erased the 10.6 percent drop suffered there after the terrorist attacks.

"It makes sense," he said. "Who took the biggest hit last year was the Strip, and that's who would have the biggest recovery."

The totals for most other parts of the state were either flat or slightly down.

Total win for the state was $807.4 million, and while Streshley agreed that shows the gaming industry is recovering, it's still a half-percent below the October 2000 winnings reported by casinos.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said that underscores what he has been saying -- that the economic recession and impact of the terrorist attacks took away a full year of growth from Nevada's economy.

"We need to be growing by 10 percent per month in order to meet the Economic Forum's projection upon which the budget is built," said Guinn. "And yet we are behind tax collections of two years ago."

Total win in the Carson City reporting area, which includes the capital and non-Tahoe portions of Douglas County, fell 1.34 percent compared with a year ago to $8.27 million.

South Lake Tahoe, however, was up for October by 1.28 percent to $25.8 million. Stateline casinos were up in October 2001 by 3.3 percent. Slot play was down 2.2 percent at Tahoe, but game and table win rose 9.7 percent.

North Lake Tahoe casinos were down 23.6 percent for the month, but not because of the economy. The Crystal Bay Club closed earlier this year, cutting the number of casinos from five to four. That property is in the final stages of being purchased by Reno-based developer Roger Norman and is expected to reopen after remodeling.

Washoe County suffered another negative month, falling 4.7 percent in October to $88.8 million -- the 22nd month of decline in the past 25 months.

Major details from state Gaming Control Board's report on October win totals for Nevada's casinos:

-- Carson-Gardnerville-Minden: $8.3 million, down 1.3 percent.

-- Las Vegas Strip: $395.3 million, up 10.4 percent.

-- Downtown Las Vegas: $57.8 million, down 1.9 percent.

-- North Las Vegas: $19.1 million, down 1.8 percent.

-- Reno: $65.2 million, down 5 percent.

-- Sparks: $14 million, down 3.4 percent.

-- North Tahoe: $2.5 million, down 23.6 percent.

-- Stateline: $25.8 million, up 1.3 percent.

Statewide: $807.4 million, up 4.6 percent.

(Chart courtesy of the Associated Press)


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