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Study shows (big surprise) gaming is No. 1 in Nevada

Here’s one area where Nevada ranks first in the nation — and it’s a good thing.

When looking at the cumulative financial benefits of the nation’s gaming industry, the Silver State is No. 1 in economic impact, No. 1 in jobs supported and No. 1 tax revenue to state and local governments.

Yeah, big surprise coming from a state when gaming is the top industry.

The study was conducted by Oxford Economics, the research arm of Oxford University, on behalf of the Washington, D.C.-based American Gaming Association.

The overall study, which looked at the economic impact of both the commercial casino industry and American Indian casinos in 2013, was released in October at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. The figures included information from 39 states, including 23 states with land based and riverboat casinos.

For the record, Nevada casinos contributed $53 billion to the state’s overall economy — more than double the combined totals produced by Nos. 2-5 states in the study — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Indiana.

Gaming in Nevada supported more than 425,000 jobs both within the casinos themselves and through ancillary services. The jobs paid more than $18.8 billion in wages.

The gaming industry in Nevada was responsible for almost $7.9 billion in taxes.

Oxford Economics Director Adam Sacks said gaming boosts local communities across Nevada by supporting jobs and generating customers for businesses.

“The industry also supports a wide range of government services in the state,” Sacks said.

Nationwide, casino gaming in the United States is a $240 billion industry that supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $38 billion in federal, state and local taxes, according to the Oxford study.

The American Gaming Association has been releasing the results of the study to individual states in recent weeks.

Last month, information from the study was used by the organization for a series of ads in Massachusetts used to successfully defeat a ballot question that sought to repeal the state’s casino expansion.

American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman said in a statement that increased competition from expanding casino markets and the changing demands of consumers means the industry’s future success “depends on strong partnerships with policymakers that allow us to innovate, reinvest and create more jobs.”

In an interview last month, Freeman said the trade organization plans to be more proactive in promoting gaming as a nationwide industry.

The figures were released on the same week state lawmakers learned fiscal 2015 budget is facing a shortfall as a result of lower tax revenue and increased public education costs. The Nevada Economic Forum predicted gaming taxes would be lower than previous projections.

Strip gaming revenue is down 0.1 percent for the first 10 months of 2014. Strip casinos also collect roughly 65 percent of their revenue from non-gaming areas, such as hotel rooms, restaurants and retail shopping.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Find on Twitter: @howardstutz

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