Statewide gaming income up 36 percent for the year |

Statewide gaming income up 36 percent for the year

Net income for Nevada’s casinos rose 36 percent in 2005 to more than $1.8 billion, according to the 2005 Nevada Gaming Abstract released Thursday.

But western Nevada didn’t share in the wealth. Stateline casinos at Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley area were the only two reporting areas in the state where net profits went down.

For Stateline, a 50 percent drop in profits still left those casinos with a net of $17.3 million for 2005. But Carson Valley’s 12 casinos reported a net loss of $1.3 million even though total revenues increased more than 11 percent to $172.7 million and gaming revenues rose 12 percent to $114.6 million.

At Lake Tahoe, the story was simply less business, with total revenues down 5.6 percent to $525.8 million and gaming revenues down 5.7 percent to $317.7 million. Almost all resort departments from food and drink to the casino floors showed declines in total revenues from 2004. The only exception was room revenues, which were up about 1 percent.

In the valley, casinos faced increased expenses which outstripped the increase in total revenues.

“They’ve got to be pleased with the increases in revenues,” said Gaming Control Board Analyst Frank Streshley. “However, the cost of doing business increased faster.”

The net loss may not indicate problems in the coming year since a substantial share of the increase in costs was in depreciation and amortization of debt. That category increased $3.3 million this past year, and interest expense for area casinos increased another $1.7 million.

Streshley pointed out much of that is in expansions, improvements and new machines purchased by Carson Valley and Carson City casinos during the past year. Those expenses are investments designed to grow future business.

Statewide, Streshley said Nevada casinos had their best year ever. The previous best net income for casinos was $1.4 billion in fiscal 1996.

The abstract also reports another milestone as gaming revenue, for the first time since the control board began keeping records, fell below half of total revenues reported by Nevada’s resorts. The number for 2005 is 49.9 percent.

Gaming’s percentage of total casino revenues has been falling steadily for 20 years as casinos expanded their offerings to attract a wider variety of tourists.

Total casino revenue for fiscal 2005 was more than $21.35 billion with $10.6 billion of that from gaming. That total is 9 percent more than in fiscal 2004.

More than half the total revenue came from casinos on the Las Vegas Strip – $12.9 billion – as did nearly two-thirds of the statewide net profit – almost $1.2 billion.

Washoe County casinos increased total revenue by only 1.3 percent and gaming revenues by just under 1 percent. But unlike Carson Valley, which includes valley portions of Douglas County as well as the capital city, Washoe County casinos managed to cut expenses by enough to increase net income nearly 62 percent. Their net increased to $67.8 million out of $1.8 billion in total revenues.

Finally, Elko County’s 16 casinos reported a combined net income of $17.3 million – a 17.7 percent increase – out of $350.9 million in total revenues.

— Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.

Gaming in 2005

The Nevada Gaming Abstract is published annually in January and reports casino revenues and expenses for all casinos which grossed $1 million or more in gaming revenue during the previous fiscal year. This year, that list includes 268 casinos.

Nevada gaming archives

Annual Abstracts dating back to 1990 are available online at:

They can be downloaded free of charge in either MS Word or Adobe Acrobat formats.