As the creator of the first secure instant lottery ticket in the 1970s, Scientific Games already has a prominent spot in gaming history. Today, however, its leaders are focusing on creating a different kind of presence in gaming, one that shows its loyalty to the Las Vegas community and injects millions of dollars of local economic benefits every year.
Growing by acquisition the past five years, Scientific Games has added large gaming manufacturers like WMS Industries and Bally Technologies into its portfolio. The gaming entertainment leader counts more than 300 customers spanning six different continents today, and the enterprise is now one of the largest employers in Las Vegas.
With the dust settling on its most recent acquisitions, Scientific Games is now working to create its global headquarters in Southern Nevada, adding considerable jobs and initiating millions in local capital investment as well.
Going all in with Las Vegas
Supported by Southern Nevada’s mature gaming environment and history as a strong logistics hub for a variety of manufacturing businesses, Scientific Games will now employ more than 30 percent of its workforce in Las Vegas, about 1,300 workers. To accommodate, the company is investing $15 million in building improvements at its current Las Vegas campus and expanding its footprint to 500,000 square feet.
With the renovations, Scientific Games plans to hire 300 employees within the next three years. However, the company is moving faster than expected.
“We agreed to create 50 new jobs in the first reporting period of the incentive agreement, but we’ve already brought in 114 employees across multiple disciplines,” said Todd Clark, vice president of Global Facilities for Scientific Games. In total, the added hires will support more than $107 million in payroll output over the next 10 years.
With its strong commitment to Southern Nevada, Scientific Games worked with the LVGEA to navigate economic incentive opportunities. The gaming company was awarded tax certificates totaling $1.825 million from the Governor’s Catalyst Fund. The award was granted in March and runs through June 2020.
“The LVGEA is a great partner. They really helped us navigate the waters and educated us on how to receive incentives from both the state and the county,” Clark said. “The LVGEA has been both a supporter and advocate for us.”
This marks the third time Scientific Games has worked with LVGEA. Several years ago it had received a film credit for its Monopoly Millionaire’s Club program and two years ago, the company had another multi-million dollar building renovation project that yielded 50 more jobs for the local economy. For that effort, Scientific Games had earned a $500,000 sales and use tax abatement.
Perry Ursem, LVGEA’s vice president of business retention, explains why it’s important to support existing local companies like Scientific Games, even though the general thinking behind economic diversification efforts is to focus on bringing new companies into the region.
“We’re providing value to them because they’re investing in their Las Vegas global headquarters,” he added.
In 2014, the LVGEA spent time re-examining it mission and purpose and decided to make a concerted effort to better understand the needs of local companies who are expanding and whose technologies are leaders in their respective industries. The expansion of these enterprises then helps to build or add other industries that may associate with or do business with these leading companies.
“A lot of economic development comes down to connecting the dots, not just from the standpoint of a new business coming to the market, but helping to connect with existing companies as well,” he said.
By understanding the needs of existing companies and helping them to expand through tax abatement opportunities, Ursem’s team has also developed a better understanding of the local business environment and the needs of local companies. If a Nevada company needs a certain type of supplier or industry, that also creates an opportunity to find and court another type of business to the state, he explained.
Earlier this year, the LVGEA released findings from its Target Industry Validation Study, done in partnership with Louisiana-based management and strategy consulting firm, Emergent Method. That study revealed economic diversification target industries, among them was companies who are looking to make Nevada their global headquarters.
“You want toencourage a worldwide headquarters through tax abatement. These situations put Vegas on the map for a business and what they do,” Ursem added.