Strong gaming growth continues

May boasted this year's fourth straight month of double-digit increases in gaming win statewide and Carson City's 13th straight month of growth, despite last year's weak economy.

Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said total win for May was $908.2 million - a 12.7 percent increase over May 2003 and a record for the month.

In fact, he said, February, March, April and May of this year all set records for those months and the $930.3 million in winnings for March was an all-time monthly record for the state.

Last year the economy and the Iraq War were blamed for the drop in tourism spending in Nevada, but officials say the tourists are back and Nevada is once again booming.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said gaming tax collections are now $38 million more than what the Economic Forum projected at this point in the fiscal year.

Because sales taxes are also rolling in much better than projected, Guinn said the state's general fund is about $100 million richer than his staff and lawmakers had expected.

The driving force behind the gaming numbers was a 16 percent increase in winnings on the Las Vegas Strip - boosted in part by major concerts featuring Madonna and the Eagles to a total of $469.4 million.

Every other part of the state except Washoe County shared in the wealth.

The Carson Valley area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, had a 10.8 percent increase in business to $9.5 million. Slot play carried the day with an 11.9 percent increase, while game and table win fell 2.4 percent.

North Lake Tahoe reported a 25.3 percent increase in win to more than $3 million. That is in comparison to last year, which was 13 percent down from 2002 because the Crystal Bay Club closed. Not only was business better this year but the Crystal Bay Club has reopened.

South Shore casinos increased win this May by 18.3 percent to nearly $29 million. Again, that is in comparison to an 8 percent drop last year.

Even Elko County reported a 3.7 percent increase in gaming win to a total of $18.3 million.

The weak spot in the state was Washoe County, which dropped 3.4 percent compared to last May - a total of $90 .4 million in winnings. The drop came despite the fact the American Bowling Congress men's tournament, which draws thousands to Reno over a three-month period, was in town this year and has been boosting gaming numbers.

In fact, Washoe numbers were up in February, March and April because of the bowlers. Last year, the Women's International Bowling Congress tournament was in Reno but that event is considerably smaller than the men's tournament.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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