Nevada casinos on the up
By Paul
Nevada’s casinos have reported a monthly increase in gaming win for the first time since September 11, the state Gaming Control Board reported yesterday.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the control board reported that Nevada’s casinos won $752.6 million in February, a 7.7% increase year-on-year and the largest single-month gain in gaming win since July 2000. On the Las Vegas strip, win rose 10% to £371.1 million.

'It was a good month. We're very pleased,' said Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the board, and industry analysts were also impressed: Dennis Forst, gaming analyst with McDonald Investments, said he expected even better results for March.

'I'm getting revved up about the prospects for the next few months,' Forst said. 'I think it's clear the Vegas economy and demand for trips to Vegas has improved much quicker and more dramatically than I would have thought...I don't know if we're back to normal yet, but we're getting there.'

February’s results were undoubtedly helped by the fact that both the Chinese New Year and the Super Bowl fell in February this year, whereas last year, they both fell in January. However, 'even factoring in the beneficial calendar, it looks like everything on paper was the best in six months,' Forst said.

A note of realism was offered by Todd Jordan, analyst with Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, who said that gaming revenues for January and February combined were down about 10% on the Strip.

'Obviously that's not great, but considering the events of 9/11 and the economy, it's not bad,' Jordan said. 'It's about where I expected it to be. We should see gradual improvement over the coming months.'

At a state level, table games led the way with the biggest revenue gain, rising 22.9% or $48.6 million, the first increase in table game revenue in eight months. This was due to higher revenues from baccarat, where revenue increased $24 million, a whopping 143.8 percent.

However, Nevada sports books didn’t fare so well on the Superbowl, with the underdog victory by the New England Patriots mainly responsible for a loss of $8.3 million statewide.

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