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Howard Stutz

Casinos' Work Force Numbers Dip

4 March 2005

NEVADA -- More than 416,000 new jobs were created in Nevada over a 10-year period, but the state's hotel-casino industry accounted for only 12.7 percent of those positions, an economic impact study conducted for the Nevada Resort Association shows.

"The association is sending the report, "The Facts About Gaming in Nevada," to state legislators, county and city elected officials and other policy-makers throughout the state.

"Over that 10-year span, from 1993 to 2003, the casino sector's percentage of the state's total employment fell from 26 percent to 21 percent.

""But while the industry's share of employment was decreasing, the tax burden increased and the industry continued to fund about 50 percent of the state's general fund, primarily through industry specific taxes," the association's chairman, Station Casinos President Lorenzo Fertitta, wrote in a letter being mailed with copies of the 36-page report.

"Association President Bill Bible said the report helps to spell out gaming's effect on Nevada using various economic indicators. This is the second such report produced by the association in conjunction with Applied Analysis, a Las Vegas-based financial consulting firm.

"The first report was done before the contentious 2003 Legislature in which the gaming industry was a target for a tax increase. State casinos are not being looked at for additional money during the current session.

"According to the report, Nevada casinos have faced several challenges over the past 10 years from increased competition outside the market.

"In 1993, Nevada accounted for 18 percent of the nation's total gross gaming revenue -- including state lotteries, pari-mutuels and American Indian casinos. That share decreased to 12 percent in 2003.

"Focusing on only casino gaming, Nevada accounted for 54 percent of the U.S. spending on gambling in 1993 and has dropped to less than 36 percent in 2003.

""Americans' access to full-blown casino gaming has increased considerably over the last 10 years," said Jeremy Aguero, a partner in Applied Analysis who authored the report with the association. "Still, Nevada's gaming industry has been remarkably strong and resilient."

"Aguero pointed out that capital investments in Nevada's casinos have increased the fixed asset values by 223 percent during the study's 10-year period, jumping from $9.8 billion in 1993 to $31.6 billion in 2003.

"He said gaming helped fuel Nevada's job growth even though the bulk of the newly-created jobs -- 87.3 percent or 363,200 positions -- took place outside of gaming. The nongaming jobs included retail and restaurant components created by the casinos through development of large retail amenities.

""Nongaming industries have become increasingly important," Aguero said. "In fact, one out of every five jobs created in the past 18 months is from construction."

"The report shows gaming still contributes the bulk of Nevada's taxes, with direct taxes on casino winnings accounting for $800 million, or about 35 percent of all general fund sources. In addition, when room taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, and other industry-specific fees are figured into the mix, gaming accounts for 47 percent of all state general fund revenue sources.

""While Nevada has a relatively low tax environment, gaming participates in almost every single tax," Aguero said.