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LAS VEGAS-The Downtown gaming market is beginning to show resolve in the recession, or at least a little good luck. After several years of losing ground as gamblers opted to lose their money on the Las Vegas Strip, Downtown has made a bit of a comeback, according to November data released today (Friday, Jan. 9) by the state Gaming Control Board.

Gamblers losses fell 16% on the Las Vegas Strip and 15% statewide but fell only 1.6% in Downtown Las Vegas. Gaming losses also fell less than 2% in North Las Vegas, but unlike Downtown that market’s results were boosted by the early November opening of the Aliante Casino.

The results are a bit of a head scratcher. While October’s record decline was expected because that same month in 2007 was a record month, Control Board senior research analyst Frank Streshley tells GlobeSt.com that given the soft performance in November 2007–that month gaming win was down 13.9% statewide and 19.2% on the Strip–he was expecting declines in the mid-single digits on a percentage basis, not double-digit declines.

He’s also somewhat stumped by Downtown’s performance. Some of it can be attributed to chance, he says, because Downtown sports books won $1.6 million from bettors in November 2008 versus just $74,000 in the same year-earlier period. In addition, Streshley says slot revenue Downtown was down only about 8.2%, and revenue from Blackjack and Craps was ahead of last year, while most markets statewide posted much higher declines in slot revenue and declines in Blackjack and Craps.

“Luck is a factor,” he says. Statewide, gamblers’ losses–called “gaming win” by the industry—totaled $836.8 million in November, down 14.8% from $982.1 million in November 2007. The results, which mark the 11th straight month of decline, comes on the heels of a 22.3% drop in October.

In Clark County, which accounted for approximately 84% of the statewide total, gamblers’ losses decreased 15.22% to $702.6 million from $828.7 million in November 2007. On the Las Vegas Strip, which accounted for 62% of the Clark County total, gamblers losses fell 16% to $437.7 million in November 2008 from $521.2 million in November 2007. In Downtown Las Vegas, meanwhile, gaming win dipped just 1.58% to $50 million in November 2008 from $48.8 million in November 2007.

For the fiscal year, July through November, statewide gaming win was $4.67 billion, off 12.9% from the same 2007 period. Clark County gaming win was $3.89 billion, off 13.7%, and Strip gaming win was $2.45 billion, off 14.2%.

Gaming win in the Boulder Highway ($54.9 million) and Laughlin, NV ($41.8 million) markets in November were off 16.3% and 18.1%, respectively. For the fiscal year, the two markets are off 14.6% and 11.6%, respectively.

Gaming taxes collected by the state based on November gaming win totaled $44.4 million, a 27% decline from November 2007. Gaming taxes from June 1 through Nov. 30 totaled $330 million, off approximately 15.4% when compared to the same 2007 period.

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