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Net or Adjusted Gross?
Right off the top, our show on Measure 75 touched on accounting. No surprise; the measure (pdf) would allow one private, non-tribal casino in Multnomah County, with 25 percent of gaming revenues going to the state. That's how much is spent gambling, not buying drinks in the casino, for example.
But are the gaming revenues "adjusted gross revenue" or "net gaming revenue?" On the show, I said one, a casino investor said the other. According to the measure text, it's adjusted gross. The official explanation of the fiscal impact statement says net gaming. (Just the fact there is an explanation of the fiscal impact statement should be a clue about how much number crunching is going on.)
Legally, the measure text rules. Here it is:
the total of all cash and property, except nonredeemable credits, received from the games . . . less the amount of cash, cash equivalents, credits and prizes paid to patrons of the games.
So money dropped on games, minus payout. Does that sound like the same as net gaming revenue? In any event, I checked with a state analyst who reiterated that the measure text is the legal language. He figured the fiscal statement writers were just trying to simplify "adjusted gross revenue".
Now, how much will that revenue be? We didn't detail the wide range of estimates on the show, but here's a peek. Casino backers estimate that 25 percent of gaming revenues will be $150 million a year. Analysts who calculated the financial impact to the state say it would be lower, somewhere between $83 million and $147 million (pdf). They also estimate expected losses to the state-run lottery mean the real amount of new revenue will be much lower, between $13 million and $68 million (pdf), and could actually be a loss to the state because gambling funds would shift to local governments.