The long winning streak came to an end in August as Carson City-Carson Valley casinos posted a half-percent decline in gaming win.
That is the first time in 28 months area casinos made less than they did the same month the previous year. And the problem affected not only the Carson Valley area, but Lake Tahoe casinos as well.
Gaming Control Board Analyst Frank Streshley blamed both the calendar and gamblers' luck. He said a key factor was one fewer Saturday this August than in August 2004. Weekend play is much heavier than on weekdays.
Second, Streshley said gamblers were simply luckier this year than last year. He said the amount wagered in slot machines was actually up 1.9 percent but the win, the amount the machines kept, was down. The result: Total win of $10.3 million for the month which is $56,000 less than last August.
The Carson Valley area wasn't alone.
"South and North Shore were affected similar to Carson," said Streshley.
In both, the win percentage dropped off unexpectedly and he said neither he nor casino operators can say exactly why.
At North Shore, total win was $4.9 million, a 6.8 percent decrease. Streshley pointed out that is in comparison to "a very strong August 2004 when win was up 16.2 percent."
The 11.2 percent drop in slot win was offset by a 7.4 percent increase in game and table winnings. But table games comprise only a small part of the action at North Lake Tahoe.
Across the lake, Stateline casinos reported an 8.7 percent drop in win to $37.3 million. Slots were down 11.5 percent with a drop in both volume and win percentage. The games side was down just 1 percent.
The rest of the state, however, did well in August. Statewide casino win was up 9.28 percent to $989 million - the 13th straight month of increases and a record for August.
"It's better than we expected," said Streshley, pointing out casino operators and the state knew there was one less Saturday this year, and that they were competing against a strong August 2004, when win was up 11.2 percent.
The increase was 13.3 percent on the Las Vegas Strip and 11.3 percent for Clark County as a whole.
Washoe County also escaped Carson City's bad luck, logging its third straight month of increases after a long downhill slide in gaming win started after the opening of major American Indian casinos in the Auburn and Sacramento areas. Washoe County casinos increased winnings to $97.2 million for August - a 2.45 percent increase over August 2004.
n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.
At a glance
Area August Win Percentage (in millions) Change
Statewide $989 9.28%
Carson Valley $10.33 -0.54%
South Shore $37.32 -8.7%
North Shore $4.89 -6.8%
Washoe County $97.23 2.45%
Reno $70.19 3.06%
Clark County $808.4 11.3%
Las Vegas Strip $486.6 13.28%