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Downtown casino owner Derek Stevens believes the tide may finally change

Golden Gate’s new majority owner said the stars were “aligned” for downtown operators in February, with a series of events that drove locals and tourists to Fremont Street, including the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day and NASCAR weekend. March started strong, too.

“We’re hoping we’re seeing some twists here,” Stevens said. “Everyone’s February numbers are going to go up quite a bit. Downtown did a very, very, very good job.”

The increase in February would be a welcome retaliation for a region as hard hit by the economy as any region.

Downtown games posted their worst sales in nearly two decades last year. Downtown game sales were $523.8 million in 2009, down 10.1% from 2008 and 17.2% from 2007, according to figures released by the state’s Gaming Commission.

Frank Martin, an independent game analyst, said downtown game sales had been steadily falling before the summer of 2006. Then came the recession.

“Profitability was largely determined by non-gaming revenue in 2006, when there was a banner year downtown,” Martin said. “Since then, both gaming and non-gaming have been seriously sliding.” 스포츠토토

Jobs were also lost between June 2007 and June 2009, with 1,562 casino jobs reduced.

The number of operators in the market has decreased. There are 16 downtown casinos near Fremont Street or with no restricted gaming licenses, including the Stratosphere and casinos on Las Vegas Boulevard. In 2003, there were 19.

Sales fell in January as downtown dropped by less than 1 percent. Although it will take several more months to see if the momentum can continue, downtown casino owners and old and new are looking to a bright future.

The Siegel Group is new to downtown, like Stevens. In January 2008, it acquired a dilapidated gold spike on a block north of Fremont Street. Like Stevens, the company is optimistic about the future of downtown.

“We still believe downtown is coming back,” said Michael Crandall, the business director of the Siegel Group. “It’s necessary for people like us and others downtown to really believe it. Young, driven people have to roll up their sleeves and go in and clean up not only our building, but also our surroundings.”

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