Nevada Casinos Fail To Collect $70 Million In Gambling Markers

Nevada’s largest casinos wrote off $70.1 million in casino credit as unpayable in the most recent fiscal year, according to figures from state gaming regulators.

The information was made public in the annual Nevada Gaming Abstract.

The figure represented 0.6 percent of gaming revenue in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017. The 272 casino licensees that collected at least $1 million in gambling winnings in the fiscal year won a combined $11.1 billion during the time frame.

According to historical data compiled by the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the $70.1 million bad debt expense was the lowest since the casinos wrote of $54.1 million in FY 2005. The worst ever fiscal year in terms of the bad debt expense was back in 2000, when the figure almost hit $250 million. That coincided with the dot-com bubble bursting.

“In times of economic downturn, bad debt percentages general rise,” said the report from UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research. The bad debt has fallen, for the most part, since the Great Recession. It nearly reached $200 million in 2009.

It comes as no surprise that nearly all of the unpaid markers happened on the Las Vegas Strip. Those casinos wrote off $67.1 million as unpayable, which was 1.1 percent of gaming revenue. At bad debt’s peak, Strip casinos were failing to collect more than five percent of their winnings.

Downtown Las Vegas casinos wrote off just $667,000 in FY 2017.

It’s common for the casinos to extend credit to gamblers playing pit games. Those games generated $3.3 billion in gambling revenue in FY 2017, which was 30 percent of total gaming win.

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