Gaming Win Up in Washoe County

April 17, 2010

With few exceptions, individual gamblers always lose if they play long enough. Conversely, the casinos always win because they are allowed to tilt the games in their favor. Casinos are, after all, in business to make money and the rules ensure that they do. For the last two and a half years, however, the system has faltered because the gamblers quit coming and those that did wagered less. During that period, the year-over-year gaming win declined every month. The dismal trend finally ended in Washoe County in February, with the Nevada Gaming Control Board reporting an overall rise of 2.7 percent over the same month in 2009. Increases were reported in Reno and north Lake Tahoe, but declined in Sparks.

Club Cal Neva, downtown Reno, Nevada, NV
Club Cal Neva, downtown Reno, Nevada.
Photo © Stan White

In all of Nevada, the gaming take jumped 13.9 percent by riding a whopping 32.9 increase from the Las Vegas Strip. By itself, the Strip accounts for more than half of the state’s total gambling revenue.

I suppose this would all be good news except that it’s just as likely to head back down any time. What Nevada desperately needs is a complete overhaul of its tax structure so we’re not so overwhelmingly dependent on revenue from gambling and tourism. Both of these discretionary spending sources dry up when times are tough. The movie just keeps repeating yet nothing is ever done. I say the time to act is now. You will too when the 2011 legislative session has to deal with more billions in projected revenue shortages.

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