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LAS VEGAS-Unless the topic is the total number of rooms in the market, data on the Las Vegas casino resort industry has a minus sign in front of it these days. Performance is down across the board, according to August data released Friday by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Compared to August 2007, visitor volume, down 4.3%; hotel occupancy, down 2.4%; casinos’ gambling win, down 9.1%; daily room rent average, down 15.3%; convention attendance, down 22.3%. The year-to-date numbers are negative as well. Through the first eight months of the year: visitor volume, down 1.5%; hotel occupancy, down 2.5 percentage points; casinos’ gambling win, down 7%; average daily room rent, down 7.7%; convention attendance, down 3.4%.

It’s all relative though, and August 2007 was the beginning of the economic slide. The final four months of 2007 were bad enough for the casino resort industry here that the final four months of 2008 aren’t expected to look as bad as August in comparison, local industry sources tell

And what’s bad for Vegas isn’t necessarily bad for the rest of Nevada. Approximately 100 miles south of the Strip in Laughlin, NV, where room rates in August 2007 were about one third that of Las Vegas–$41.10 versus $126.38–the average daily room rate jumped nearly 15% in August to $47.21, while it fell about the same in Las Vegas, to $107.01. The increase in room rates in Laughlin helped offset drops in visitor volume and casinos’ gambling win, which were down 1.6% and 10%, respectively.

Total room nights occupied in Laughlin also rose, by 3.5%, helping raise average occupancy to 75.8% from 73.0%. In Las Vegas, total room nights occupied fell 0.4% while average hotel occupancy fell to 92.5% from 94.9%. An LVCVA executive was not available Monday for comment.

While current visitor data for Reno was not immediately available, if the casinos gambling win is any indication that market also is faring quite well compared to Las Vegas. In Reno proper, casinos’ win from gamblers rose just under 1% while on the Las Vegas Strip it fell 7.4% despite one extra weekend day than in 2007, according to analysts, which predict more difficult months ahead as airline capacity to the region is reduced and consumer spending worsens.

For Washoe County as a whole, which in addition to Reno includes Sparks and North Lake Tahoe, casinos’ win fell 2.4%. In Clark County as a whole, which includes the Strip, Downtown Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Laughlin and the Boulder Strip, casinos’ win fell 9.4%.

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