Nevada Resort Association Armed With $2M PAC To Back Pro-Hospitality Candidates

Posted on: February 1, 2022, 11:39h. 

Last updated on: February 2, 2022, 09:33h.

A newly launched political action committee from the Nevada Resort Association (NRA) will support state candidates whose positions are in line with the hotel and casino sector. It already has more than $2 million in its coffers, and the PAC could play a key role in upcoming legislative races.

Nevada Resort Association President Virginia Valentine
Nevada Resort Association President Virginia Valentine, pictured above. The association recently announced a political action committee. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The fund is called the Nevada Resort PAC. It comes as the hospitality industry continues in its rebound since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The sector is generally opposed to new requirements that could hamper its financial recovery.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported last month that 2021 gross gaming revenue (GGR) totaled more than $13.42 billion. That set a new record.

But the Las Vegas gaming sector might see a “modest contraction” during 2022, Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli warned to The Nevada Independent in December.

It’s critical that Nevada has elected representatives who value the unique role our industry plays in the economic security of every community in this state to keep our recovery moving forward,” NRA President Virginia Valentine said in a statement released on Monday announcing the PAC.

She explained the state’s future prosperity “is inextricably intertwined with the success of our industry, as evidenced by the devastating impact of the global pandemic.”

Voting Records Will Be Scrutinized

The PAC will support “business-minded candidates,” the NRA statement said. Before making contributions or endorsements, the PAC will evaluate candidates’ prior voting records, current positions, and whether they are aligned with the industry’s priorities, the statement adds. Candidates will be required to complete “an extensive candidate questionnaire.”

Endorsed candidates should be able to be popular enough to win in primary and general elections, the statement adds.

We’re looking for sensible individuals on both sides of the aisle who will champion issues that grow our economy, encourage economic investment and job creation, contribute to our employees’ well-being, ensure taxes are fair and transparent, and protect our state’s distinctive character as a global leader in travel and tourism,” Valentine said.

The Nevada Resort PAC will also undertake targeted educational campaigns and community outreach efforts to promote the industry’s priorities.

Casinos May Face 3 Percent Tax Hike

One issue that impacts the Nevada casino sector is a possible increase in the gaming tax to add to funds for the state’s public schools. The tax rate is now at 6.75 percent. A proposal would hike it to 9.75 percent.

The issue could find its way onto a November ballot. It is now being addressed in a court case.

In 2020, the NRA said it was not against raising taxes across the board to support education, but draws the line at targeting a single industry.

Also, in October the Nevada Employment Security Council proposed increasing the state’s unemployment insurance tax. It would have cost employers as much as $130 per employee in 2022, according to the Vegas Chamber, a pro-business group.

We are still facing challenges ahead of us as a state because of the pandemic. Passing a tax increase at this time sends the wrong message to Nevada’s employers, who have struggled to keep their doors open and maintain employees,” Gina Bongiovi, chair of the Vegas Chamber and local attorney, said in October.

The NRA represents nearly 80 gaming resorts in Nevada. The organization declined to comment further on the PAC and its priorities when questioned by about specific legislation. The Culinary Union, which represents many casino workers, also declined to comment.