Light at the end of the tunnel?

Light at the end of the tunnel?

January 13, 2010.

The latest statistics from the Nevada Gaming Control Board have at last shown some signs of the land industry recovering from a tough recession, with winnings up for the first time in a long 23 months.

According to an Associated Press report, Nevada casinos' gambling revenue in November 2009 rose for the first time in nearly two years, as casinos won nearly $873.2 million from bettors. The statistics were published by state regulators on Tuesday.

The 4 percent rise in revenue from November 2008 was the first year-over-year increase after 22 months of declines, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said in its report.

Revenues this fiscal year, from July '09 through November '09, were down 7.9 percent from a year earlier.

State revenues collected in December based on the winnings topped $57 million, up 28.3 percent from $44.4 million in December 2008. Taxes paid on casino winnings account for about 30 percent of the state general fund.

The control board said the state collected $313.2 million in the first six months of the fiscal year, down 5.1 percent compared with July-December 2008.

More than half of the November 2009 revenues came from the Las Vegas Strip, where casinos won $473.8 million, up 8.3 percent compared with November 2008. The Strip is down 5.5 percent for the fiscal year through November, gambling regulators said.

Analysts told Associated Press that the improvement came against a relatively easy comparison, as Strip casinos won 15.8 percent less in November 2008 than in November 2007.

High-end casinos were helped by greater volumes of baccarat play, said one analyst: "The strong baccarat numbers benefit properties such as Wynn, Venetian, Bellagio, along with to a lesser extent some of the other (MGM Mirage) properties like the MGM Grand and Mirage," he said.

November's results also benefited from the November 14 Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto boxing match at the MGM Grand.

Revenue at Downtown Las Vegas casinos was down 1.3 percent, while North Las Vegas and the Boulder Strip saw double-digit increases.

Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and is Nevada's largest county, was the only county in the state with a year-over-year increase in monthly revenue.

In Northern Nevada, revenues in Washoe County were down 4.2 percent, while revenues slid more sharply in South Lake Tahoe, Elko County and Carson Valley.

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