Carson City, Valley casinos post gaming wins in 2001

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Carson City and Carson Valley casinos appear to be immune to the effects of an economic slump and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks which knocked the wind out of 2001 winnings in Nevada casinos.

According to figures released Tuesday, the Carson Valley reporting area, which includes nonlake portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, reported 3.7 per cent higher winnings for the year than in 2000, a total of $93.2 million. And the area, surprisingly, showed almost all of the increase in the second half of the year. The capital has now shown an increase for the past 11 months.

Experts have theorized that Carson City is doing well because it doesn't rely on tourist traffic -- especially by air -- as much as it does drive-in customers and local play.

Winnings in Nevada's casinos, already below what the experts had predicted for most of 2001, went south after the terrorist attacks hit New York and Washington, D.C.

Altogether, $138.4 billion was wagered in Nevada during 2001 -- $116.2 billion of that in slot machines. But the total win for Nevada's casinos actually fell from $9.6 billion in 2000 to $9.46 billion in 2001 -- 1.4 percent less than in 2000.

To meet revenue projections used by the governor and Legislature to build the budget, gaming needed to grow 3.6 percent in 2001. But through the first six months, the totals were only up 1.3 percent. For the second half of the year, win was down 4 percent and, for the quarter following Sept. 11, 5.8 percent short of the same period in 2000.

September win was down 3.15 percent, it was 5.1 percent in October and 7.45 percent in November. The year ended with a 7.58 percent drop in December.

Gaming Control Board Analyst Frank Streshley said the industry has averaged a 5.5 percent increase each year for the past decade.

And the big loser was the Las Vegas Strip where gaming win was off 10.4 percent since Sept. 11 -- a decrease of $102 million. Streshley said without the losses on the Strip, the state would have only been down seven-tenths of a percent for the year.

December's drop of 13.4 percent was the biggest single-month decline on the Strip in two years, according to Streshley.

A substantial portion of the decline was caused by high rollers not coming to town. Baccarat winnings were down 18.6 percent and the amount wagered on the game during the year was the lowest in eight years at $2.5 billion.

Washoe County was also down -- 5.7 percent for the year -- as was Stateline which finished the year with 6.9 percent less win than in 2000.

For Washoe, that is the ninth straight month of declining win totals.

Concerns many people have about flying are apparently helping some other areas as well. Streshley said Elko area casinos reported business actually improved in the second half of the year and following Sept. 11. Winnemucca casinos as well were enjoying an increase apparently brought to town by the increased number of tourists using Interstate 80 to get to Nevada.


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