Talk about the red-headed stepchild: Reno has always trailed in Las Vegas’ grander, more opulent shadow, barely able to even raise its head in the presence of all those fancy restaurants, word-class shopping and glitzy high-roller casinos. Until now, anyway. Looks like Reno can suddenly walk a little taller, as along with its surrounding Washoe County casinos, it saw double-digit revenue increases in April that saved Nevada’s gambling stream from going perclunk. Vegas’ revenues, in contrast, fell a bit under one percent for the same period this year.

Reno and Vegas Still Struggling

Brave soldier that Reno proved to be in the gambling wars, it wasn’t enough to totally save the day; the Gaming Control Board still reported statewide casino revenues at $854.3 million for April 2013, and that’s down 0.16 percent compared to 2012’s $855.7 million figure.

Las Vegas is still scrambling to come back from the vicissitudes of the recession; on the Strip, April saw $448.6 million this year compared to $459.4 million in 2012, and that’s a 2.34 percent drop.

Reno, meanwhile, bumped it up a whopping 15.36 percent over last year, from $38.3 million for April 2012 to this year’s $44.1 million. And that’s even though Reno and environs, too, have been recovering from recessionary woes, not to mention more competition from NoCal Indian casinos to their left.  Washoe County, which encompasses the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, Sparks and a few other gaming areas, grew its revenue stream by 10 percent overall, with Tahoe increasing 2.99 percent while Sparks dipped 5.8 percent.

Washoe County Takes the Lead

“The state was down about $1.4 million, the Strip was down $10.8 million, but Washoe County was up $5.4 million,” noted control board senior research analyst Michael Lawton. “The [USBC Open Championships] bowling tournament marked the first time both the men’s and women’s events were taking place in the same month.” Strike!

Las Vegas, on the other hand, saw declines in both baccarat and slot machine revenues, the two steady cash cows of the casino industry, albeit on opposite ends of the gambler profile spectrum.  But the news isn’t all bad for Vegas; for the first four months of 2013, gaming revenues overall on the Strip are up 4.7 percent and throughout the Silver State, they’re up 1.8 percent.