Primm success renews state interest in lottery legalization

Nevada lawmakers said they have no concrete plans to legalize a state lottery.

However, sales figures reported by the closest site to Las Vegas where California lottery tickets are sold does raise some interest.

A convenience store operated by Las Vegas-based Herbst Gaming, located just across the California side of the Nevada border at Primm, averages $214,000 a week in lottery ticket sales, almost 67 times what the typical lottery retailer sells in California.

“Holy moly, that much?” said Assemblyman Harry Mortenson, D-Las Vegas, who supported a Nevada lottery proposal during the 2007 session in Carson City. “This would be my eighth session next year. I’m sure a lottery bill has come up in every session I’ve been there. I would imagine a lottery will be put forth in the next session as well.”

State Sen. Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, who also supports Nevada adding a lottery, was not as shocked by the sales figures produced at Primm.

“I think a lottery is something that would do well here,” Horsford said.

Nevada is facing a $500 million budget shortfall and Gov. Jim Gibbons has asked state agencies to make cutbacks. Meanwhile, two proposals have been floated that would raise the gaming tax above the 6.75 percent paid on gambling revenues earned by the state’s largest casinos.

In the last two legislative sessions, lottery bills have been introduced. Both bills subsequently died. Gibbons opposed the creation of a lottery in the 2007 session.

Mortenson, who is a co-chairman of the Assembly Elections, Procedures, Ethics and Constitutional Amendments Committee, where a lottery bill would be heard, has said a Nevada lottery could generate between $50 million and $200 million a year for public education.

“My constituents want it and the state needs the money,” said Mortenson, who represents a portion of southwest Las Vegas.

Horsford said he wouldn’t introduce the bill unless the makeup of the state Senate changes after the November election. Republicans, who control the Senate by one vote, usually move to kill any lottery bill, Horsford said.

“It doesn’t make sense to introduce a bill just to see it get killed,” Horsford said.

Earlier this month, the California Lottery named the Primm Valley Lotto Store as the statewide retailer of the month. Herbst Gaming acquired the convenience store when the company spent $400 million nearly a year ago to purchase three Primm Valley casinos from MGM Mirage.

Since taking over the store, the location’s total lottery ticket sales have been more than $8.9 million, according to California Lottery officials.

Herbst Gaming officials said they don’t advertise or publicize the lottery sales aspect of the convenience store. An average of 40,000 vehicles a day pass through Primm on Interstate 15, giving the store a built-in audience, Herbst executives said.

“I really don’t know where all the customers originate,” Herbst Gaming general counsel Sean Higgins said. “We don’t market the lottery store. It’s just kind of like this; we throw open the doors and the customers come in. We’ve never done a study or a survey of where the customers come from.”

California Lottery officials said sales at the store have been good for state schools, contributing $3 million to the public education system. Statewide, nearly 34 percent of the revenues from all lottery tickets are funneled to California’s public education system. A minimum of 50 percent of the revenues are returned to winners in the form of lottery prizes. In fiscal 2006, lottery sales topped $3.5 billion statewide.

Herbst, like all lottery retailers, receives a sales commission of roughly 7 percent for all lottery tickets sold at a particular location. If the store were to sell the winning ticket for a jackpot, the lottery retailer would earn one-half of 1 percent of the prize amount.

“It’s something to which we haven’t given much thought,” Higgins said of the California lottery sales.

In Nevada, in addition to the Primm casinos, Herbst operates Terrible’s, an off-Strip casino on East Flamingo Road, the Sands Regent in Reno, several smaller casinos in the northern and southern parts of the state and a statewide slot machine route operation with more than 7,000 machines in 700 locations.

Because of the statewide casino operations, Herbst Gaming is opposed to Nevada instituting a state lottery, despite the company’s success at operating lottery ticket sales at its California site.

When the lottery bill reached the state Senate 2007, Higgins testified against the measure. His opinion hasn’t changed. Higgins believes a Nevada lottery would put the state into competition with gaming companies. Extra dollars that might be wagered on a slot machine would be spent on lottery tickets instead.

“That money would go right to the state and away from private businesses,” Higgins said. “If a lottery was proposed again, I would testify against it again.”

Herbst Gaming is not alone. Executives from the major casino operators in the locals market, such as Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming Corp., have all previously opposed the implementation of Nevada lottery.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at or (702) 477-3871.

Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like