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LAS VEGAS-Casinos in Nevada won approximately $905 million from gamblers in October 2008, 22.3% less than they did in October 2007, the state Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday. Control Board senior research analyst Frank Streshley tells GlobeSt.com it is the largest year-over-year decline since the state began recording on a monthly basis back in the 1980s, blowing away the previous record decline of 15.2% this past May.

Streshley says there are two reasons for the record decline. The first and most obvious is the recession and the resulting acceleration in the decline in spending and visitation. The second reason is that the comparable month, October 2007, was the best month on record in terms of statewide gambling win ($1.16 billion), capping off three or four years of pretty strong increases. Looking ahead, he sees the percentage decreases coming in lower for the rest of the fiscal year.

“Percentage-wise, I’d be surprised to see these double digit declines continuing [because] now we will start comparing to some pretty weak months; November of last year was down 14% [from November 2006]” Streshley says. “ So percentage-wise it should flatten out but dollar-wise we will be in a difficult period for some time.”

In Clark County, which accounts for the vast majority of the total, gaming win was down 24.3% to $757.5 million. On the Las Vegas Strip, which accounts for the bulk of the Clark County total, gaming win fell 25.8% to $475 million from $639.8 million in October 2007, the statewide results from which were 9.6% ahead of October 2006.

Gaming win in Downtown Las Vegas, which had been dropping more quickly than the Strip, came in at 48.3 million, down 19.6% from $60.1 million in October 2007. Gaming win on the Boulder (Highway) Strip came in at $62.9 million, off 28.2% from -$87.6 million in October 2007. The biggest year-over-year decrease was seen in the City of North Las Vegas. Gamblers lost $18.5 million there in October 2008, down 34.5% when compared to October 2007.

In Washoe County, home to the Reno, Sparks and North Lake Tahoe markets, gaming win was $78.1 million in October 2008, down 9% from $85.8 million in October 2007. The overall percentage averages out a 7.4% decline in Reno, which accounts for about three quarters of the total, a 10% decline in Sparks and a 15.6% decline in North Lake Tahoe.

The only market to post a gain was the Carson Valley area, which saw its October 2008 gaming win increase by 3.47% to approximately $10 million.

For the fiscal year-to-date (July 1-October 31), statewide gaming win totals $3.84 billion, which is 12.5% below the same 2007 period. Clark County is running 13.4% behind 2007 for the fiscal year-to-date, the Strip is 13.8% behind and Downtown is behind 13.7%. North Las Vegas is running 16.9% behind last year’s pace. The Fiscal YTD decline in Washoe County and the individual submarkets there in are very similar to the October 2008 results. The Carson Valley area remains 7% behind for the year despite the positive results in October.

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