By David Stratton |The Nevada gaming industry posted its third straight month of declining revenues as casinos won $1.04 billion in March, a 1.5 percent decline compared with the same month last year, the Gaming Control Board reported last week.
A region-by-region breakdown in the Control Board report showed a similar month-over-month decline for the Las Vegas Strip, and the ninth consecutive monthly slump for the Reno-Sparks-North Tahoe area.
"It goes back to a soft economy," Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said. "People are tighter with their money and their spending."
Mirroring the Strip’s slide in gaming win – about 4.8 percent in March – visitor volume to Las Vegas slipped 1 percent in March to about 3.4 million visitors.
The $1.04 billion statewide win was the amount left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $13.9 billion during March, including $11.5 billion in slot machine bets and the balance on table games, poker, and race and sports betting.
The March win brought the total win for the fiscal year to date to $9.58 billion. That’s about the same as the total for the same period in the previous fiscal year.
There were bright spots, however, in areas mostly supported by "locals." Casinos on the Boulder Strip and in North Las Vegas enjoyed revenue increases of 11.4 percent and 27.1 percent, respectively, while downtown Las Vegas casinos had their second straight month of increasing revenues, about 2.5 percent.
In Northern Nevada, clubs in Reno were down 3.9 percent while resorts on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore were up 54.6 percent. Elko County, in Northeastern Nevada, was up 3.2 percent.
A breakdown showed that slots were up 2.4 percent in March while table games were down 9.5 percent compared with the same month last year.
Slots accounted for $725.7 million of the total win in March. That included $326.5 million won by multi-denomination slots, up 7.8 percent. Penny slots were second with a win of $162.2 million, up 22.9 percent.
All other denomination slots – nickel, quarter and dollar games – posted declining revenues from a year ago.
Among the table games, only craps reported an increase in gaming win – about 5.4 percent to $41.7 million. Blackjack was down 14.8 percent to $109.7 million, roulette slipped 9.9 percent to 29.7 million, and baccarat slide 2.6 percent to 35.1 million.
The state’s poker rooms raked $13.7 million from players, a slide of 9.6 percent from a year ago.
Nevada’s sports books won $12.8 million in March, up 26.5 percent, while race books won $7.6 million, down 17 percent.
Most of the sports betting win came on basketball – college’s March Madness and the NBA – $16.8 million, up 0.5 percent from March 2007. Early baseball betting, which most likely included a large percentage of future bets, increased 548 percent to $1.8 million.