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Casinos Feeling Iraq War In Winnings

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Nevada casinos won nearly $835 million from gamblers in March for a 3.4 percent gain — a figure that might have been higher had tourists not been so jittery about the Iraq war.

While the gain marked the ninth straight month of increases for the clubs, a state Gaming Control Board report shows the win was flat on the Las Vegas Strip, which depends heavily on visitors rather than locals.

But markets that get a lot of local traffic had relatively good months, ranging from downtown Las Vegas at about six percent to North Las Vegas with a 34 percent gain compared with the same month a year earlier.

The GCB´s Frank Streshley said the start of a tourism slowdown began following the March 17th start of the war against Iraq. He says that impact will be more obvious in April.

Governor Guinn says the state´s percentage fees based on the win are now down nearly $25 million so far this fiscal year — and could be down more than $30 million dollars when the year closes June 30th.

A break down some of the popular gaming areas:

LAS VEGAS STRIP: $395.7 million, up 0.1 percent.

RENO: $62.8 million, down 0.05 percent.

SPARKS: $13.3 million, down 2.7 percent.

NORTH TAHOE: $2.5 million, down 9.8 percent

STATELINE: $25.4 million, up 1.7 percent.