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Nevada's 350 Casinos Won $819.5 million in
October 2003, Up 1.5% from 2002; 
Northern Nevada Improves
By Jeff Simpson, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News 

Dec. 11, 2003 - The state's 350 casinos won $819.5 million from gamblers in October, up 1.5 percent from $807.2 million in October 2002, the Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday. 

Strip table game strength and better-than-expected results in Northern Nevada drove the positive comparisons. 

Still, Gov. Kenny Guinn said the state's gaming win increase isn't keeping pace with the growth of the rest of Nevada's economy. 

"I am encouraged with the state's overall growth and current economic trends; however, there is concern with gaming revenues lagging behind the rest of our economy," Guinn said in a statement. "Fiscal year-to-date gaming win has only increased 1.2 percent over last year. To meet our projections for the fiscal year gaming will have to post strong sustained growth for the remainder of the year." 

Strip casinos won $409 million in October, up 3.5 percent from $395.2 million. Table game win was up 8 percent, to $175.7 million. 

Sports books lost $3.6 million on football bets in October, while the state's live poker win was up 30 percent, to $3.1 million. 

Strip slot win remained flat at $230 million. 

"Aside from baccarat win -- which was down 12.8 percent -- Strip table games had a strong October," control board statistical analyst Frank Streshley said. 

Baccarat was hit with a double whammy, Streshley said. 

Not only did the Oct. 4 James Toney-Evander Holyfield boxing match fail to generate expected high-end play, but the casinos were relatively unlucky at the baccarat tables as well. 

Baccarat volume -- the amount of money exchanged for chips -- was down 15.3 percent to $136.1 million from $160.6 million, resulting in a $21.6 million win. 

Baccarat hold -- the percentage of the chips sold to players that the casino won back -- was 16.1 percent, up from 15.6 percent in October 2002 but still below par for the game, which the control board pegs at 20 percent and up. 

Streshley said the baccarat problems were more than offset by a big upsurge in blackjack and craps. 

The Strip's 1,457 blackjack tables won $67.1 million, up 33.6 percent, and the Strip's 200 craps tables won $27.1 million, up 43.2 percent. 

Sports book win was down 48 percent, Streshley said, noting that the state's sports books took a big hit because several very large winning tickets were cashed in October for events decided in prior months. 

"When we have a number as large as 48 percent, we start calling," Streshley said, explaining how the control board knew the reason for the sports downturn. 

Northern Nevada numbers were a surprising positive, he added. 

Reno had its first positive monthly comparison since May, before Thunder Valley Casino in suburban Sacramento, Calif., opened in June. 

Reno casinos reported a 0.9 percent increase in money won from bettors, $65.7 million compared with $65.2 million. South Lake Tahoe casino win was up 3.8 percent, to $26.7 million from $25.7 million. 

"We were very surprised," Streshley said. 

Donner Pass on Interstate 80 was closed for part of the last weekend in October, making the upticks of Reno and South Lake Tahoe even more unlikely. 

The state collected $57.4 million in percentage fees during the month of November, based upon the taxable revenues generated in October. 

Collections were up 19.4 percent, or $9.3 million, compared with $48 million collected in November 2002. The lion's share of the increase in collections was fueled by the 0.5 percentage-point increase in the gaming percentage taxes, to a top rate of 6.75 percent from 6.25 percent. 

-----To see more of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to 

(c) 2003, Las Vegas Review-Journal. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. 


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