Nevada's casinos appear to have filled in the pothole in their profits caused by 9-11. Total winnings for the fiscal year ended June 30 climbed back to their levels before the terrorist attacks.
But the picture still isn't rosy. According to Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley, total win was up only 1.9 percent over the previous year - far less than the 5 percent predicted by the Economic Forum and the 4.5 percent the state has averaged over the past decade.
December figures show not much has improved in the six months since the fiscal year ended, with numbers for the final month of 2003 down 1 percent compared to the previous December.
The good news for Nevada, he said, is that the industry was again in the black. Gamers statewide posted their first-ever loss in fiscal 2001-2002 as profits dropped more than $802 million and finished $33.5 million in the red. Officials blame the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but also say the general economic recession was already taking its toll on Nevada.
The numbers released Tuesday show statewide resort-casinos finished $845 million in the black this year. While that is a 2,000 percent improvement, Streshley said all that does is recoup losses suffered following the attacks.
"This reverses last year's numbers, which include the period after 9-11," said Streshley. "But we're only up about three-tenths of a percent from 2000."
All the growth was in Southern Nevada where every market showed improvement over the year. With the exception of the Carson Valley area - the capital city and valley portions of Douglas County - every northern market declined in 2003.
The Carson Valley area reported a 5.9 percent gain in calendar 2003. The area reported a 3 percent increase in total win for December.
Washoe County took some of the worst damage because of competition from Indian gaming in California. The county was down 2.4 percent in 2003 and 4 percent in December - its lowest December win since 1996. Washoe County was down seven of 12 months during fiscal 2003.
Stateline casinos at the south end of Lake Tahoe were down for the year by less than a third of a percent. They were up 11 percent for December.
Although North Lake Tahoe was down for the year - 2 percent - the area was up 7.4 percent in December. The Crystal Bay Club was closed for most of the fiscal year, but reopened for business this summer.
Total win during the calendar year was more than $9.6 billion out of more than $117.7 billion wagered in Nevada's casinos. That is up just about 2 percent over calendar 2002, which was essentially flat compared to 2001.
Contact Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.
Highlights of 2003 revenue report on Nevada casinos
Major details from Wednesday's state Gaming Control Board's report on 2003 winnings by Nevada's casinos:
-STATEWIDE: $9.63 billion win in 2003, up 1.9 percent. In December, clubs won $767.3 million, down 1 percent.
-LAS VEGAS STRIP: $4.76 billion 2003 win, up 2.3 percent. The December win was $378.7 million, down 0.9 percent.
-DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS: $657 million 2003 win, up 0.2 percent. The December win for the downtown clubs was $48.5 million, down 8.2 percent.
-NORTH LAS VEGAS: $236.4 million 2003 win, up 17 percent. The December win was $21.8 million, up 11.1 percent.
-LAUGHLIN: $552.1 million 2003 win, up 0.2 percent. In December, the casinos took in $41 million, down 0.3 percent.
-BOULDER STRIP: $690.9 million 2003 win, up 3.7 percent. In December, the clubs took in $65.6 million, down 0.6 percent.
-RENO: $739.7 million 2003 win, down 2.1 percent. The December win was $49.7 million, down 5.2 percent.
-SPARKS: $156.3 million 2003 win, down 3.3 percent. The December win was $12.4 million, down 0.3 percent.
-NORTH TAHOE: $36.7 million 2003 win, down 4.6 percent. The December win was $2.6 million, up 7.4 percent.
-STATELINE: $335.5 million 2003 win, down 0.3 percent. In December, the win was $29.1 million, up 11.1 percent.
- ELKO COUNTY: $219.6 million 2003 win, down 3.9 percent. In December, the clubs took in $14.8 million, down 8.9 percent.
- CARSON-GARDNERVILLE-MINDEN: $103 million 2003 win, up 5.9 percent. In December, the win was $8.3 million, up 3 percent.
- CHURCHILL: $17.5 million 2003 win, up 5.4 percent. In December, the win was $1.5 million, up 6.7 percent.
- HUMBOLDT: $17 million 2003 win, down 0.04 percent. In December, the win was $1.4 million, down 2.8 percent.
- WHITE PINE: $5.6 million 2003 win, up 3.3 percent. In December, the win was $371,000, up 8.8 percent.
- Associated Press