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(Article on Nevada gaming revenues updated with additional background on the gaming sector and the day's stock movements for the sector's biggest stock.)



) -- Nevada gaming revenues plunged 10.4% in 2009, the biggest decline in state history.

All together, casinos pulled in $10.39 billion, the lowest since 2003.

The Las Vegas strip also posted a 9.4% drop to $5.5 billion.

But there was some stabilization by the end of the year. Overall, in December, the state reported a 3.2% decline for the month to $859.3 million and the Strip rose 5.9% in December to $502.1 million. This was the Strip's second consecutive monthly gain.

Nevada is following the losing streak of most other parts of the country, as a nation of those without jobs or disposable cash has suddenly found itself wondering what's so fun about the notion of handing over its money to casinos.

On Tuesday,

Atlantic City reported an 8.5% decline in its gaming revenue in January


For these reasons, casinos such as

Las Vegas Sands

(LVS) - Get Free Report


Wynn Resorts

(WYNN) - Get Free Report


MGM Mirage

(MGM) - Get Free Report

, are looking overseas, most notably to Macau, China, for future growth.

By comparison, the Chinese gambling hub saw a 63.3% surge to a record $1.58 billion in revenue in January. And if you can do that math, then so can casino operators.

The sector was generally trading higher on the day, despite the news. Shares of Las Vegas Sands popped 6.5% to $16.87, Wynn Resorts grew 5.8% to $64.96, MGM Mirage spiked 9.4% to $11.38 and

Boyd Gaming

(BYD) - Get Free Report

inched up 2.2% to $7.78.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.


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