Gaming revenue forecast divides Nevada budget analysts

Nevada Capitol

Nevada Capitol

Analysts told the Economic Forum on Monday they pretty much agree on how sales tax revenues will come in during the next two-year budget cycle.

But the Gaming Control Board and legislative Fiscal Division had significantly different takes on how gaming tax revenues would fare in fiscal 2024 and 2025.

Mike Lawton, chief economic analyst for the Gaming Control Board, predicted that gross gaming revenue would peak in 2023. But he said gaming revenue could decrease as much as 5 percent in fiscal 2024 and 2025.

At the same time, he said there is no sign that the streak of 19 consecutive monthly billion-plus gaming win totals will end anytime soon.

Lawton predicted a 3 percent decrease in gaming revenue FY2023 to $928.5 million and a 5.4 percent decrease in FY 2024 before revenues flatten in 2025.

Russ Guindon, chief economist for the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said he initially thought the same, that things would back off a bit next year. But now, he said, he thinks total gaming win could top $15 billion in 2024 and edge even a bit higher in 2025.

He pointed to major events coming next year, including a Formula One race in Las Vegas that could sharply increase casino play — especially among high-end players — and the Super Bowl that he said will take major events on the Las Vegas Strip, “to a whole other level.”

On top of that, college basketball’s March Madness will bring Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games to Southern Nevada.

Guindon predicted $974.6 million in FY2024 and just over $1 billion in tax revenue the following year and again in 2025.

But for the sales and use tax, projections by the Taxation Department, Fiscal, and the Budget Division were all within the same ballpark of $1.75 billion in 2023, just over $1.8 billion in FY2024 and about $1.9 billion in FY2025. Moody’s Analytics, a national revenue projection firm, was in the same ballpark on the sales and use tax.

The five-member forum, a panel of financial and business experts appointed to provide an independent and neutral set of General Fund revenue projections, also reviewed projections for the other so-called “major revenue streams.” Those include the Live Entertainment Tax that pretty much aligns with the gaming tax, the Insurance Premium Tax, Real Property Transfer Tax, Commerce Tax and Modified Business Tax.

The agencies made their projections during Monday’s Economic Forum meeting along with signing off on a list of more than 50 so-called “minor revenue streams.”

But the forum took no action on which projections to adopt. Those decisions will be made at the forum’s Dec. 5 meeting in the Legislative Building in Carson City.

Those projections must be used by the governor and Legislature to build the state’s General Fund budget.


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