Nevada win tops $1 billion again

May 16, 2006 2:16 AM

Another month, another billion.

Gaming revenue in the state topped $1.06 billion in March, a 3 percent increase from a year ago, according to Nevada regulators. It was the third straight month that gaming revenue topped $1 billion.

Leading the way were strong results on the Strip and in Clark County, which offset the effects of harsh weather in the northern part of the state.

Gaming revenue or "gaming win" on the Strip increased 6.2 percent in March to $546.1 million, while casinos in North Las Vegas ($28.8 million, up 2 percent) and the Boulder Strip ($86.9 million, up 2.1 percent) also showed solid increases.

Casinos in downtown Las Vegas, however, reported a 5.8 percent decline in gaming revenue to $59.5 million, which continues a trend in which downtown casinos over the past 12 months have won 1.7 percent less than they did during the previous 12 months.

Overall, the results reflect the "continuation of the strong results we have seen over the last 20 months and the opening of the Wynn property," said Frank Streshley, an analyst at the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Wynn Las Vegas opened its doors in April last year, joining other high-end Strip properties managed by MGM Mirage and Harrah’s Entertainment.

Gaming operators that fared well with Las Vegas residents include Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming, which now operates Coast Casinos.

Casinos in Washoe County in the northern part of the state reported a 3.2 percent decline in revenue, with Reno properties seeing a 3.5 percent drop in their gaming win to $60.3 million in March from a year earlier.

"This month the northern part of the state was affected by a record amount of snowfall," Streshley said. "There were numerous road closures with the main arteries coming over from California."

The monthly gaming report also revealed interesting casino trends:

”¡ Nickel and quarter slot machines continue to become obsolete as more casinos replace them with multi-denomination machines: nickel and quarter slots saw declines of 40.9 percent and 21.1 percent, respectively, while multi-denomination machines had a 30 percent increase in gaming win.

”¡ Blackjack had its best month in over a year as gaming win increased 9 percent to $120.9 billion in Nevada casinos.

”¡ Race and sports books had a nice March, with revenue increases of 10 percent and 30 percent, respectively. March Madness made its presence felt by helping to increase basketball betting by 25.5 percent.