Gaming win dips again in April
The economy is taking its toll on Nevada casinos, as gamblers are spending less than they do in good times.
Casinos reported another decrease in total win for the month of April. The total was just over $1 billion, a 5 percent decrease from the same month of 2007.
But Gaming Control Board Analyst Frank Streshley said the thing that most stands out is the decrease in almost every market in the state in the total amount played in slot machines. That amount, called coin in, was down 7.6 percent in April to $10.5 billion.
Streshley said that after six months of declines compared to the year before, there’s a clear indicator that people “aren’t comfortable with the economy.”
“When you talk to the properties, they say the people are still coming, they’re just not spending as much,” he said. “If people aren’t comfortable with the economy, they hold on to their money.”April was also the fourth straight month where overall win was down from the same month of 2007.
In April, all but one reporting market area was in the red. The exception was South Lake Tahoe where win increased 12.7 percent to $24.4 million. There, slot win defied the statewide trend, increasing 9.1 percent. Game and table win increased by 23.3 percent at South Shore, fueled by a 100 percent increase in blackjack win. But even at South Shore, the coin in reported on slots was down 1 percent.
South Tahoe casinos also did well in March, reporting a 54 percent increase.
In the Carson Valley area, which includes valley portions of Douglas as well as Carson City, the dip was 4 percent overall to $8.7 million. Slot win was off 5.2 percent with the total coin in down 8.6 percent.
Game and table win helped ease the pain with a 14.6 percent increase.
North Lake Tahoe casinos were hard hit in April, reporting a 38 percent drop in total win to just $1.9 million. That is the area’s third straight month of double digit declines.
There the total amount played in slot machines was off more than 26 percent. And table games didn’t help out. There, win was down 48 percent compared to April 2007.
Washoe County as a whole was down 11.9 percent for the month to $78 million.
Statewide, game and table win was actually up 4.4 percent to $364 million even though baccarat, craps and roulette win were flat or down a percentage point.
The big winner for casinos was blackjack, which increased 12 percent to $123 million.
Slot win was off 8.9 percent statewide, to $671.5 million.
As a result, Streshley said the gaming tax collections are now $69.9 million below where they were projected to be at this point in the fiscal year. That’s 9 percent less than projections used to build the state budget.
He said part of the problem is that casinos are experiencing more problems collecting money owed them ” both from bad checks written by small players and slow payments by high rollers who often leave owing millions, paying off the debt when they return to play again. He said the casinos may make up some of that debt this summer and fall as those wealthy players from around the world come back.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.