Gaming win dips slightly; up slightly in Carson Valley

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With gaming win down just two-thirds of a percent in March, industry analysts are cautiously optimistic the more than two year slide is ending.

Gaming Control Board Analyst Frank Streshley said with March win of $912.2 million, total win for the first quarter of this calendar year is up 3 percent over the first quarter of last year, ending more than two years of decline.

January and February are profitable months for the major resorts with New Year's, Super Bowl and Chinese New Year drawing huge crowds and high rollers.

Streshley said March and April tend to be slower so stable win numbers for March is a good sign things are turning around.

The increases, however, are in the state's tourist markets with the Las Vegas Strip posting a 2.4 percent gain, Reno 4.6 percent growth and South Shore at Tahoe a 7.15 percent gain.

He said the consensus among resort operators is that, "the high end play is coming back, conventions are getting stronger, bookings are getting stronger."

As for what that means in terms of the recession, he said for gaming at least, "we're sort of bouncing along the bottom."

Streshley said it will take more time before people in Nevada are comfortable with discretionary spending again.

"It could be a year longer on the locals because of high unemployment, foreclosures," he said. "For the locals, it will be a very slow turn-around."

Carson Valley, which includes Carson City and valley portions of Douglas County, posted a 2.26 percent increase in total win for March - $8.5 million. Both slot and table game play were up over the same month last year.

For Washoe County overall, win was up 1.6 percent over March of 2009, the county's second straight increase after 31 months of decline. The driver behind that increase is the start of the Bowling Congress' three-month tournament which draws thousands to the area. But the nearly

5 percent increase that generated in Reno was reduced sharply by a 9.2 percent decrease in win for Sparks - reflecting the closure of the Silver Club earlier this year.

South Shore casinos at Stateline saw their first increase in 12 months, reporting $21.1 million in win. Both slot and table game play were up. Those casinos have been badly hurt by competition from Indian casinos in California.

North Lake Tahoe also showed an increase in March, reporting a 7.6 percent increase to just under $2 million - the second positive month in a row after more than two years of declines.


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