Nevada casinos winnings report down for 22nd month

AP News
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 1:59 PM

Nevada casinos won $800.3 million from gamblers in October, down 11.6 percent compared with the same month in 2008, state gambling regulators said Thursday.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board also said that monthly revenues for the first four months of the fiscal year are down almost 11 percent compared with last year.

The October figures mark the 22nd straight month of year-over-year declines for Nevada casinos hit by the recession as tourists and gamblers cut back on discretionary spending.

It's also the lowest monthly statewide total since December 2003.

Taxes paid on casino winnings account for about 30 percent of the state general fund.

Total state revenue to date is about $53 million short of projections. Gov. Jim Gibbons is considering more budget cuts and a possible special legislative session to address the state's fiscal predicament.

Frank Streshley, a control board analyst, said while revenue and casino play was expected to remain on a downward trend through the end of the year, the double-digit decline, when compared with a horrendous month the prior year, was sobering.

In October 2008, the casino win plunged 22 percent from the previous year.

Declines in August and September were in the single digits, which had analysts hopeful a turnaround was on the horizon.

"We had hoped we'd flatten out, but that's not the case," Streshley said.

The October figure was the amount left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $11.7 billion at slot machines and table games, a decline of 5.5 percent from a year ago.

Nevada collected $49.3 million in taxes based on October revenues. That's down 12.7 percent from the same month a year ago.

Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip won $426.3 million from gamblers in October, nearly $50 million less than last year for a 10.3 percent decline. Casino revenue fell 16.4 percent in downtown Las Vegas, 19 percent in Laughlin, 24 percent at South Lake Tahoe and 10.4 percent in Elko County.

In Washoe County that includes Reno, casino revenue fell nearly 14 percent to 67.2 million, marking that region's 28th straight month of declines. In Reno itself, revenue fell 16 percent.