Double-Digit Decline in Nevada Statewide October Gaming Win Called Disappointing

CARSON CITY – Nevada gaming revenues declined significantly again in October after two months of what was hoped to be the beginnings of a turnaround in the state’s biggest industry.

A state Gaming Control Board official called the 11.6 percent decline in statewide gaming win a “disappointment.” The decline came off of an October 2008 report that was down 22.3 percent over October 2007.

It was the 22nd straight month of statewide consecutive gaming revenue declines.

Total gaming win was just $800 million compared to $905 million in October 2008. It was the lowest win since December 2003.

The state had seen only single-digit declines in gaming win in August and September, hinting at the possibility of a bottoming out of Nevada’s gaming economy.

Frank Streshley, control board Tax and License Division chief, said one reason for the poor performance is that gamblers were luckier than usual on table games in October. The “hold,” or amount of the wagers retained by casinos from gamblers, was lower for most of the major games, from craps to blackjack.

“The luck factor can go either direction,” he said. “Volume on the game side was up.”

The hold on blackjack in October was 10.2 percent versus 12.7 percent in October of 2008. The craps hold was 11.3 percent versus 14 percent in October 2008. Other table games were similarly lower except for baccarat, a game favored by high end players, which was slightly higher compared to October 2008.

Baccarat was one of the few bright spots in the report, Streshley said.

“We continue to seeing strong play on the high end baccarat,” he said.

Casinos won $65.4 million on baccarat in October, up 61.4 percent or about $25 million over last year. The “drop” or the amount wagered by baccarat players was also strong at $709.8 million, up 43.7 percent over October 2008.

The monthly gaming report released today showed total game and table win statewide of $252.5 million, down 10.6 percent over October 2008.

The slot win statewide of $537 million was down 12.1 percent over the previous year.

On the Las Vegas Strip, casinos took in $426.3 million, down 10.3 percent.

Downtown Las Vegas was off 16.4 percent, Reno was down 16 percent and South Lake Tahoe was off 24.1 percent.

The disappointing win came despite a sold out concert by the rock group U2 on Oct. 23 that brought in 42,000 fans to Las Vegas.

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