Accounting Error: Washoe County Missed $5 Million In Gaming Taxes

Feb 16, 2016

Credit Ted Murphy / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Nearly $5 million in gaming tax revenue has not been collected by Washoe County due to an accounting error. Our contributor Bob Conrad with ThisisReno has the story.

The tax went uncollected for more than five years and county officials say that money could have helped during the recession. County manager John Slaughter:

"It's unfortunate that it happened. What we believe happened in 2009 is an error was made on how it was calculated, which compounded over time and reduced how much we were billing gaming operators for. This is a tax is placed on a gaming operator's business license. They pay it quarterly. Prior to 2009 it was being billed and paid properly."

Slaughter says that new fiscal staff discovered the error, and the county hired an auditor to investigate the issue. Now attorneys are exploring if the county can collect that money.

County Commissioner Kitty Jung says more investigation is needed.

"It needs to be looked at much deeper perhaps with law enforcement as well. To have changed so dramatically and having nobody noticed that -- it stinks to me, frankly."

County officials say that the gaming tax is less than one percent of all taxes they collect and the correct amount will be billed starting July 1.