Gaming win up but still well behind projected totals

Nevada's casinos reported a total gaming win of more than $834.6 million in March -- 3.4 percent more than the same month of 2002.

Gaming Control Board Analyst Frank Streshley said that includes a record slot win of $573 million.

But that's not nearly as good as it sounds, because the March 2002 win was down nearly 6 percent compared with the previous year.

As a result, state officials say gaming tax revenues are now $24.7 million below the projections used to build this year's state budget.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said gaming taxes could finish the fiscal year more than $30 million below projections. Since sales taxes and numerous other state revenue sources -- even cigarette collections -- are also below what was projected, he said the overall deficit is much worse.

That, Guinn argued, highlights the need for additional state revenues to support services to Nevadans.

The March slot numbers were dragged down by a 4.2 percent drop in game and table winnings.

But March Madness -- the college basketball tournament -- helped with a 101.7 percent increase in sportsbook winnings.

"There were a lot of underdogs that covered," said Streshley.

The rest of Clark County and the state helped pull the Las Vegas Strip up. Gaming win there was up only a tenth of a percent from March 2002 to $395.7 million. That's still better than the 9 percent drop in win reported on the Strip last year.

Downtown Las Vegas helped with a 6.3 percent increase, North Las Vegas with 34 percent higher win, the Boulder Strip with 22.9 percent and the outlying portions of Clark with a 19.1 percent jump. Overall, that brought Clark County's total win to 4.4 percent more than a year ago.

The Carson Valley reporting area also turned in a solid increase -- 8.2 percent more than last year with $8.7 million in winnings. That is on top of a 7 percent increase in March 2002. South Lake Tahoe added $25.4 million to the pot -- an increase of 1.7 percent. That is Stateline's seventh straight month of increases.

North Shore at Tahoe continued its slide since the Crystal Bay Club closed, reporting a 9.8 percent drop in winnings this March. That follows a 15.5 percent drop in March 2002.


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