2008 worst year for gaming industry | NevadaAppeal.com

2008 worst year for gaming industry

For Nevada’s gaming industry, 2008 is on the books as the worst year ever, surpassing even the period after 9/11.

Total win for the year was down 9.7 percent to $11.6 billion. That is the same win total the industry reported in 2005 and finishes the year with a perfect 12 straight months of decline.

Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said there have been only three year-over-year declines in total win since 1955 when the state started keeping statistics. The other two were 1.3 percent in 2001 and 0.3 percent in 2002, caused by 9/11.

The situation is “the most challenging period gaming has ever faced,” Streshley said.

“It’s much more severe than following 9/11,” he said adding that casino operators don’t yet know when things might begin to recover.

The only reporting area in the entire state where win was up is Churchill County which saw a 0.36 percent increase to $23,229,000.

Streshley said the year started with a slide in gaming win, falling 5.4 percent in the first six months. It got much worse in the second half of the year, which saw a

14 percent decrease compared to 2007.

“None of our major markets were up,” he said. “Wendover was the lowest decline at 3.1 percent. North Lake Tahoe had the biggest, 19.4 percent.”

The casinos finished the year in December with an 18.94 percent drop compared to December 2007.

Every table game was down by double digit percentages except craps, which was off only 6.3 percent and poker, off 7.3 percent. Overall, game and table win fell 12.2 percent to $3.9 billion.

Slot win was down 8.5 percent for the year to $7.7 billion.

The economic situation is reflected in the total amount wagered in Nevada casinos as well ” an 8.8 percent decrease to $125.6 billion. That is despite Wynn’s Encore and the Alliante Stations casino opening, and the Cannery reopening, in 2008.

In the Carson Valley area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital, total win fell 6.4 percent to $111.6 million. That decrease came despite the opening of the new Bodine’s last summer. It was the third straight year of declining win totals.

North Shore casinos reported a total of $34.1 million in win, down 19.4 percent for the year. Like the Carson Valley area, that is the third straight year

of decreases for Crystal Bay casinos.

South Shore casinos at Lake Tahoe won $304.4 million, a 6.8 percent decrease. It’s the fifth decline at Stateline in the last six years and the lowest total win in 12 years.

Washoe County casinos fell below the $1 billion mark for the first time since 1997, reporting just $930.2 million in winnings.

Elko County, which reported 11.5 percent growth in 2007, fell 5.3 percent to $287.3 million in 2008 as the mining boom began to cool down.

The Las Vegas Strip, which has had an average annual growth of 5.2 percent for the past decade, saw casino win fall 10.6 percent to $6.1 billion. Overall, the Strip generates nearly 53 percent of total gaming win in Nevada. A report released earlier this week showed visitor numbers down 11 percent for the year in Las Vegas.

– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.