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LAS VEGAS-Gamblers in Nevada lost more than $1 billion at casinos in December 2006, 17.1% more than they handed over in December 2005, the state’s Gaming Control Board said on Friday. The second billion-dollar, double-digit growth month in a row for the industry helped balance out some soft months in the fall and put the industry 7.22% ahead at the mid-point of its 2007 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2006.

On the Las Vegas Strip, which generates more than half of the state’s overall gambling win every month, casinos reported a gaming win of $610 million in December 2006, and increase of 23.4% from December 2005. Through the first half of the year, Strip gaming revenue was $3.38 billion, 9.6% ahead of fiscal year 2006.

Gambling win in Downtown Las Vegas, home of the Fremont Street Experience, was $48.62 million in December 2006, down 1.8% from December 2005. Through the first half of the 2007 fiscal year, Downtown gambling revenue was $304.31 million, off 5.45% compared to the first half of fiscal year 2006.

The amount people give away gambling at Nevada casinos is being eclipsed by the amount they give away doing other things. In 1990, gambling win accounted for more than 60% of the total revenue of casinos in the state. According to data released last month by the state, gambling losses in fiscal year 2006 accounted for just 49% of casinos’ total revenue.

Taking over the lead last year was revenue from hotel rooms, food and beverages. Frank Streshley, a senior analyst with the Gaming Commission told GlobeSt.com last month that while FY06 gaming revenue was 10.8% higher than FY05, revenue from hotel room rentals grew by 14%, revenue from food sales was up 12.8% and revenue from beverage sales was up 12.2%. Revenue from “other” sources, which includes revenue generated by in-house spa facilities and renting retail space, was up 19.8%.

“Most of [the increase] is not being fueled by new capacity,” he said. “It’s just tremendous growth within existing properties that isn’t being offset by the expense side.”

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