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Nevada's largest casinos lose combined $4 billion in 2011, but revenues increase

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Nevada's largest casinos lose combined $4 billion in 2011, but revenues increase

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada's largest casinos saw increases in revenues but still suffered a combined net loss of nearly $4 billion loss in 2011, largely because of higher general and administrative expenses, state casino regulators said Friday.

The annual "Gaming Abstract" released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board said casinos reported combined revenue of $22 billion and a net loss of $3.99 billion. The loss worsened by 16.4 percent, or $564.1 million, from 2010 when casinos lost $3.4 billion on total revenue of $20.8 billion.

It's the third straight year of losses for Nevada casinos. Before that, the last decline was in 2002, right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when casinos lost $33.5 million.

The abstract is a report of combined financial information from Nevada casinos that gross $1 million or more in gambling revenue. There were 256 properties included in the report for the fiscal year ending June 30. Of those, 69 casinos are owned by publically-traded companies and accounted for 78 percent of total statewide gambling revenue, the report said.

Total revenue is money spent by patrons on gambling, rooms, food and beverage, and entertainment. Net income or net loss is the balance after casino expenses are paid but before federal taxes are deducted or other extraordinary expenses are factored.

But while total revenues increased for the first time in four years, expenses rose 9.8 percent, or $1.1 billion, cutting into casinos' bottom lines. Those expenses included interest costs, asset value reductions and other non-cash charges and accounting adjustments.

Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, had 148 casinos grossing $1 million or more in gambling revenue. The clubs had a combined net loss of $3.9 billion on revenues of $19.5 billion.

"Spending patterns are continuing to evolve and change," Lawton said. "People are still gambling, they're just not gambling as much."

Elsewhere around the state, 30 casinos in Washoe County, which includes Reno, reported a net loss of $44.5 million on $1.4 billion in revenue; South Lake Tahoe, with 4 casinos, had a net loss of $24.7 million.

Gains were seen in Elko County, where 19 casinos had a combined net income of nearly $45 million. In the Carson Valley area, 15 casinos had a combined income of $533,000.

Statewide, gambling revenue totaled $10.2 billion, on which casinos paid $792.4 million in taxes and fees, equating to 7.8 percent. Revenue from wagers was up 2.6 percent from last year and represents 46.2 percent of total revenues.

Total revenues last year were up 5.6 percent, or $1.2 billion over the previous year, said Mike Lawton, senior control board analyst.

"This is the first increase recorded since 2007," Lawton said. But the percent that gambling contributed to total revenues "is the lowest percent of total ever recorded."

"Spending patterns are continuing to evolve and change," Lawton said. "People are still gambling, they're just not gambling as much."

Room revenues of $4.3 billion rose 10.3 percent last year, or $407 million. Likewise, food revenues of $3.3 billion were up 6.9 percent; beverage revenues of $1.5 billion were up nearly 10 percent.

"It's a positive story with the revenues. But compared to the peak, we're not uncorking bottles of champagne," he said.

Statewide gambling revenues peaked in 2007 at $12.5 billion, when total revenue reached a record $25.2 billion.

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