Gaming wins up in December

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Nevada casinos reported a 17 percent increase in winnings in December, with every reporting area in the state in the black except North Shore at Tahoe and downtown Las Vegas.

The $1.06 billion casinos won in December brought the year-end total win to $12.62 billion - 8.3 percent more than 2005. And that is on top of the 10.3 percent increase from 2003 to 2004.

Driving the increase was the resurgence of player interest in table games which increased more than 11 percent compared to just 7 percent for slot win.

Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said much of that is driven by high-end gamblers.

There's been a softness on the slot side but high-end baccarat and some of the other games are doing well," he said. "A lot of it is international players, and the weak U.S. dollar comes into play because their money goes farther."

The biggest increase in December came from the state's biggest and most profitable casinos - the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip - which reported almost $610 million in winnings - 23.4 percent above the same month of 2005. For the year, Strip casinos were up 10.9 percent, raking in $6.7 billion of the total state win.

Streshley said the increase is simply market growth since the last major new resort to open was the Wynn Las Vegas in 2005.

The Carson Valley area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as casinos in the capital city, reported a 1.5 percent increase in December to $10.4 million. For the calendar year, Carson was down three-tenths of a percent - $124.3 million. Streshley said this is the first calendar year decline in total win for the Carson Valley area in 13 years.

Casinos at Stateline finished the year strong with an 8.9 percent growth in December to $25 million. But they were essentially flat for the year - down one-half of a percent to $333.7 million in total winnings.

At Lake Tahoe's North Shore, December's 12 percent drop in total win ($3.55 million) was blamed primarily on the lack of snow to draw skiers over the holidays. Over the year, the area was down 1.3 percent to $42.4 million.

Washoe County casinos did a bit better in 2006 than the year before, reporting an overall increase to just under 2 percent or just more than $1 billion. Washoe casinos finished the year with $83.1 million in winnings, a 3.46 percent increase over December 2005.

The state collected $51.15 million in tax revenues from December's win totals, nearly 18 percent more than the same period last year.

But tax collections are still running 1.6 percent or $7.2 million below the revenues projected by the Economic Forum used to build the state budget.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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