Property Taxes: Are Casinos Paying More Than Their Fair Share?
As the proliferation of casinos continues throughout the country, the valuations they once commanded in property assessments (personal or real) has arguably declined. Newer facilities, or those built in the last 10-15 years, often had property tax agreements associated with their construction. The older agreements, depending upon the “success” of the casinos, may prove to be reverse or negative assessments (i.e., if they were assessed properly on the assessment rolls or grand lists, they would be paying less in property taxes than what results from the agreements). Thus, like many properties (e.g., generation plants) that have similarly entered into property tax agreements lasting decades, a review of those agreements as they age is imperative to ensure they continue to result in equitable property tax treatment.
Similarly, older casino facilities built prior to the era of property tax agreements used to encourage their construction may also be paying inequitable property taxes as the gambling market becomes more saturated. Owners that aggressively manage their property taxes achieve valuations more in line with realistic values of the real and personal property in the marketplace.
Simply put, being aggressive in managing property taxes is a necessity for competitiveness in the marketplace. Property taxation, especially in states having greater dependence on it for revenue generation, often is excessive when the property owner fails to have a program that annually monitors valuation changes in the assessments and marketplace and then challenges overassessments.