Casinos Cash In as Losers Pay Up

Nevada casinos are carrying less bad gaming debt than they did immediately following the last recession but still have more such debt on their books than they did before the economy went sour.

Casinos statewide experienced a substantial bad debt increase during the 1990-1991 recession, when the amount gamblers owed rose from $86.6 million to more than $166.5 million, according to the UNLV Center for Gaming Research.

The bad debt peaked at $248.9 million in 2000 before rapidly declining to slightly more than $54 million in 2005, when the nation's economy was relatively healthy. But a severe recession struck in late 2007, and the bad debt mushroomed once again to $197.6 million by 2009.

Since then the bad debt statewide was reduced to $128.1 million by last year, which is still more than double what it was in 2005.

Downtown Las Vegas casinos represent an exception as they carried only $84,698 in bad debt in 2012, their lowest amount since 1983.


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