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LAS VEGAS-The Nevada Gaming Control Board and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority handed out some sobering news late last week. Statewide gaming revenue declined in June on a year-over-year basis for the first time in nearly two years, and visitor traffic was down for the second straight month.

The state’s 344 reporting casinos won more than $921 million in June, down 3.47% from the same month last year. The state’s last monthly decrease occurred in July 2004, which has one fewer weekend than July 2003. That was not the case this time around, as June 2006 actually had one more Friday than the year-earlier period.

The decline was concentrated in Clark County, with Downtown Las Vegas and North Las Vegas both down about 13% and Strip revenue down 7.1%. The rest of the state was up on a year-over-year basis.

On the visitor front, the Las Vegas area hosted nearly 3.16 million June visitors in 2006, down 2% from June 2005, held up by strong growth (18.4%) in convention attendance. Through the first half of the year, visitor volume is off less than one half of one percent. Hotel room nights occupied by visitors through the first half of the year was down 8.9%.

The news is backed up by locally based Applied Analysis’ Gaming Index, which tracks stock prices of casino companies with operations in Nevada. Since hitting 379.3 in May, the high-water mark since it was launched in 1998 with a value of 100, the Index has been on the decline and now stands at 353.4.

During the month of July, the Index fell 6.1 points, or 1.7%, as all its casino operators posted double-digit declines in stock value by the close of July compared to their opening-month values. More dramatic devaluations were reported toward the end of the month, suggesting the Index’s value could decline in August as well, Applied Analysis principal Brian Gordon told GlobeSt.com.

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