Nevada Rep. Dina Titus: Gaming Critical to State Economic Recoveries

Posted on: September 15, 2020, 12:21h. 

Last updated on: September 16, 2020, 08:24h.

US Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nevada) says casino gambling plays a crucial role in the health of numerous state economies, and will be a catalyst to fiscal recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dina Titus Nevada commercial casino industry
Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada speaks in front of the Las Vegas sign last month during the roll call of the Democratic National Convention. (Image: AP)

In an op-ed published in The Hill this week to coincide with Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW), Titus had a duel byline with Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pennsylvania), writing about the benefits of states having legalized and regulated gambling.

Gaming contributes $2.5 billion in annual taxes in Pennsylvania and nearly $1 billion in Nevada. These funds support schools, infrastructure, and first responders, and alleviate the tax burden for families and residents,” the representatives wrote.

“We believe that the return of the gaming industry will be a key component of our communities’ recoveries,” the legislators added.

Responsible Gaming

September 13-19 is RGEW, an annual week hosted by the American Gaming Association (AGA) that prioritizes responsible gaming as an integral part of the gaming industry.

For 2020, the week is titled, “Have a Game Plan. Bet Responsibly.” The campaign goal, the AGA says, is “to educate new consumers and seasoned bettors on responsible sports wagering.”

Sports betting is expanding rapidly across the US. Sportsbooks are live in 18 states, with many more on the way. Numerous states have mobile sports betting, and with the return of the “big four” professional sports leagues, viewers are being inundated with commercials from sports betting operators.

The AGA encourages sports bettors to learn the details of odds and types of betting, set a budget, remember that gambling should be enjoyed as a leisure activity and a form of entertainment, and participate only with licensed, regulated sportsbooks.

We welcome Responsible Gaming Education Week, because gaming plays a major role in supporting economic growth and job creation in both our states. Before COVID-19, gaming supported 1 in 4 jobs in Nevada and employed more than 400,000 people. In Pennsylvania, the industry supported more than 33,000 jobs,” explained Titus and Reschenthaler.

“Gaming’s growth into a national industry and major economic driver could never have been achieved without this clear commitment to responsible gaming. Elected officials in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, have now legalized casino gaming or sports betting, a strong sign of confidence in the industry’s efforts to make gaming safe and responsible,” the reps added.

Gaming Benefits

Commercial casinos in the United States wrote checks totaling $10.2 billion to state and local governments last year. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) was a record $43.6 billion.

Those statistics were made available in the AGA’s “State of the States” 2019 report. Last year marked the first time that commercial casinos paid more than $10 billion in taxes to their jurisdictions.

2019 also marked the fifth consecutive year of GGR growth. COVID-19 will end that run, but AGA President Bill Miller remains optimistic that the industry will bounce back.

“We have proven time and again that we are resilient,” Miller declared in June. “From the Great Recession and hurricanes, to the tragedy of 1 October 2017, our industry has always rallied together with our communities and come out stronger on the other end. I’m certain the same will be true over the coming months as gaming reopens for business.”