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LAS VEGAS-Nevada casinos took $1.06 billion from gamblers in February, a 2.9% increase when compared to the same month in 2006, according to data released this week by the state Gaming Control Board reported. More than half of the win went to properties on the Las Vegas Strip. Casinos there took in $574.7 from gamblers, a 4.3% increase.

Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the Control Board tells GlobeSt.com that he attributes the gain to special events such as the Chinese New Year, which drew high rollers to the city, and the NBA All-Star Game, which was held in Las Vegas this year. Governor Jim Gibbon was not impressed with the results, saying that the aforementioned special events had created “higher expectations.”

February’s statewide gain follows a 2.1% decline in January and a 17.1% increase in December. The Las Vegas Strip gain follows a 3.5% decline in January and a 23.4% increase in December. Revenue from Downtown Las Vegas ($50.7 million) was off 6.2% in February. While the Downtown market has been down for nine months straight, Streshley attributed some of the February decline to the fact that the Lady Luck Casino closed for remodel in February 2006. The casino is expected reopen in 2008.

Revenue decreases also occurred in North Las Vegas ($24.8 million; -5.8%), Laughlin ($56.2 million; -2.5%), Boulder ($72.5 million; -3.59%), Reno ($57.9 million; -5.6%) and the Carson Valley area ($9 million; -4.25%). Mesquite, meanwhile, saw its gaming win jump 26.8% to $16.2 million.

The $1.06 billion lost by gamblers is approximately 7.5% of the total wagered during the month, which was $14.1 billion. Of the total wagered, 78% went into slot machines.

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