Gaming revenues up in June but fiscal year totals still below 2001 | NevadaAppeal.com
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Gaming revenues up in June but fiscal year totals still below 2001

by Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

Nevada casinos finished the fiscal year with their best monthly showing in more than three years — a 13.3 percent increase over June 2002.

But the total win for the year was still far below projections and a full percent less than the record $9.66 billion casinos raked in for fiscal 2001.

The year’s total was $9.56 billion — just 2.8 percent more than the total win in 2002, which was crippled by a slumping economy and the damage to the tourism industry following 9-11.

“We haven’t got back to where we were before 9-11,” said Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley.

The win totals were also well below the 4 percent projected by the Economic Forum and used to calculate the state’s 2003 budget. Streshley said the drop translates to a $17.7 million shortfall in gaming tax collections.

He said gaming revenues were on the road to recovery, climbing 3.2 percent in the first six months of fiscal 2003. But they slumped again in the second half because of the war in Iraq.

June, however, was a different story, with $809.2 million in total gaming win. That is 13.3 percent more than June 2002 and the biggest monthly increase in 39 months. Most significant was the 19.2 percent increase on the Las Vegas Strip, which accounts for just about half the total gaming revenue in Nevada. North Las Vegas registered a 38.3 percent increase for the month, and the Boulder Strip 26.3 percent.

Streshley said gaming tax collections for July were also excellent, increasing by 18.7 percent — about $7 million more than last July’s collections.

The half-percent increase in gross gaming taxes will raise those revenues significantly, beginning in September.

The Carson Valley area, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as Carson City, turned in a 12.3 percent increase for the month. Unlike most other parts of the state, which had a bad June a year ago, the Carson area’s figure is in comparison to an increase in June 2002.

But South Shore casinos saw business drop 3.7 percent in June.

For the year, the Carson Valley area saw gaming win increase 3.5 percent. South Shore was essentially flat for the year, reporting a drop of $620,000 out of more than $333 million in total winnings.

North Lake Tahoe casinos reported 11.3 percent less in winnings for the fiscal year, primarily because the Crystal Bay Club closed. That should turn around this year when new owner Roger Norman finishes remodeling the newly reopened casino.

Washoe County finished the year with 1.5 percent less in reported win than last year — just over $1 billion. Unlike most of the rest of the state, Washoe casinos had a weak June as well, reporting $85.7 million in winnings, 1.2 percent less than the same month last year.