CASINO

Nevada casinos see profit surge, first female gaming board chair

TAGs: becky harris, Nevada, Nevada gaming control board

becky-harris-nevada-gaming-control-boardNevada casinos enjoyed a serious surge in profitability in their most recent fiscal year, despite only modest gains in revenue over that period.

On Friday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) released its annual Nevada Gaming Abstract, which covers the performance of the 272 casinos in the state that grossed $1m or more in gaming revenue in the 12 months ending June 30, 2017.

These 272 casinos generated total revenue of just under $26.2b in FY17, up 3.7% from the previous year, while net income shot up 59% to $1.55b. The NGCB didn’t offer a reason to explain the significant disparity in between the revenue and profit gains. The gaming industry has made a huge turnaround since FY15, which saw net losses of $661.8m.

This disparity was significantly more pronounced at casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, which saw revenue rise 3.9% to $17.7b while profits leaped 191.4% to $814m. Downtown Las Vegas casinos got in on the action, with revenue up 10.3% to $1.2b and profits up 111.3% to $110.3m.

The statewide revenue total finally exceeded the previous record set in pre-recession 2007. Gaming revenue increased 3.2% to $11.1b but gaming’s share of overall revenue shrunk slightly to 42.4%. Strip casinos reported only 34% of their overall revenue coming from gaming, the lowest percentage to date.

Speaking of uncharted territory, the Nevada governor’s office announced Friday that state Sen. Becky Harris (pictured) would be the new chairperson of the NGCB, replacing the outgoing A.G. Burnett, who announced his resignation last month after five years in the role.

In addition to her experience in Nevada’s political circles, Harris holds a Master of Laws in gaming law and regulation. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval expressed confidence that Harris was the right person to lead the NGCB, saying she fit the bill as someone who was “beyond reproach and willing to make difficult decisions.”

Harris will be the NGCB’s first chair and only the second female to ever serve on the NGCB. Because Burnett stepped down with one year left on his scheduled term, Harris will need to be reappointed in January 2019.

Harris was required to step down from her state senate position to take the job, and with no guarantee that she’ll be reappointed next year, she acknowledged that her career shift is something of a gamble. But Harris told the Nevada Independent that she believes “this is the right opportunity for me.”

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