Lucky players drive July casino wins down

Nevada casinos suffered their first decline in winnings in seven months and experts blame blackjack players in July who were either smarter or luckier than the house at Lake Tahoe.

Gaming win totaled $812.5 million - $13 million dollars less than July 2003. Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said $8.7 million of the decline happened at South Shore casinos in Stateline.

But Streshley said Stateline wasn't alone, that 21 win was down $9.2 million on the Las Vegas Strip. The Strip, however, made up some of that loss on the slots and other machines as well as a 45 percent increase in baccarat wins to $31.3 million.

"The majority of the loss came from South Shore," he said.

Streshley said South Lake Tahoe drew a lot of high-end gamblers for the celebrity golf tournament during July and "casino operators up there played very unlucky during that week." The result was a number of golfers who did better on the tables than they did on the links - well enough to reduce the casino win percentage on the 21 tables from an average of 16 percent to just 10 percent.

"This is one of those times when the players did extremely well and a lot those players only come in once a year for the celebrity golf," he said.

The Carson Valley Area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as Carson City casinos, escaped the problem, reporting a 12.2 percent increase over last year and its 15th straight month of increases. The total $9.9 million win by Carson casinos was an all-time monthly high.

Washoe County, flying against statewide trends, reported its first monthly increase in three months. Gaming wins there were up 1.8 percent to $92.3 million and Streshley said much of the credit goes to the relatively tiny casino market at North Shore. There, total win increased 16 percent to $5.1 million with a 17.4 percent boost from slots and a 9.7 percent increase in game and table winnings.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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