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There isn't much support for a proposal that would raise $28.7 million annually through additional fees.
"This is in effect a different way to create a new tax on the gaming industry," said Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs for MGM Resorts International. "We are well aware of the state's financial situation and we are completely prepared to participate in any kind of comprehensive review of the funding structure. But we don't believe this is the way to go."
In December, former Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander asked the gaming industry to weigh in on three sets of fee enhancement proposals by last Monday.
New Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli extended the deadline to Jan. 17.
The request of the industry was made following last year's special legislative session, which closed an $800 million budget gap. One of the revenue enhancement proposals floated was having the casino industry self-fund the Gaming Control Board.
Gaming lobbyists opposed the idea, saying it seemed to be a last-minute proposal and not well thought out.
To battle that perception, Neilander laid out proposals to increase existing fees while adding new ones, such as a fees on each gaming device, increased investigative costs and increased application costs.
Neilander said the Legislature's Interim Finance Committee wanted a comprehensive review of the regulatory fees imposed on the gaming industry. Lawmakers could then "formulate the most equitable way to fully fund" the control board's operations starting in the 2012 fiscal year.
Gaming license applicants already pay any investigative costs associated with processing their licensing requests.
The $28.7 million figure is the amount the control board projects would be needed to fully fund its operations in future fiscal years without any appropriations from the state's general fund.
Several states, including Colorado, Mississippi and New Jersey, have gaming licensees fund their regulatory operations.
Opponents of self-funding say it's not fair to compare Nevada with other commercial casino states because the industries are different in size and structure. So far, however, gaming industry reaction has been either negative or noncommittal.
A representative of the Nevada Resort Association, the gaming industry's lobbying group, said the organization's position hasn't changed. Casino representatives want to discuss the matter with both Lipparelli and new Gov. Brian Sandoval .
Representatives of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers were worried that a $25 per gaming device out-of-state processing fee would be unfair to Nevada-based slot machine manufacturers, who ship thousands of machines annually .
Lipparelli, who was a member of the control board for two years before being appointed chairman this month by Sandoval, said he wants to discuss the self-funding concept with the governor and his staff. He said it's ultimately up to the Legislature and the governor to decide how the control board is funded.
Feldman said the major casino operators, who are taxed 6.75 percent on gross gaming revenues, cover more than their fair share of the state's budget.
The company was on the hook for two of the most recent costliest state gaming investigations. Feldman said MGM Resorts spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars" for the control board to investigate the suitability of Hong Kong businesswoman Pansy Ho, its joint venture partner in Macau, and to explore Dubai World, the investment arm of the Persian Gulf emirate, which owns half of CityCenter.
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