The Vegas Strip glamorized in films such as “Casino,” “Oceans’ Eleven,” Swingers” and many others rests underutilized as the Nevada film industry struggles against the stout competition of neighbors California and New Mexico. Boasting the iconic city of Las Vegas as well as majestic landscapes and mild weather, Nevada offers a plethora of location qualities suited for production. Nevada’s original film tax credit program, enacted in 2013, provided over $80 million in funding for the program, but the funds were largely re-distributed, leaving only $10 million for the program. Filmmakers quickly scooped up the $10 million, leaving the program unfunded since 2015. During the current legislative session a new bill to bring back some of that funding was introduced, providing $10 million in credits per year. Proponents of the bill hope that building an incentive program will curb the slide of production spending in the state, which shrunk over 50% from $155 million in 2001 to $73 million in 2016.
Nevada’s Film Tax Credit Was Once Successful
The Sagebrush state spent most of its history in the film industry relying on the unique locations it provided to bring economic activity to the state, but in the 2000s as film tax credit incentives across the country became more popular, the state lagged behind states like New Mexico and Texas that carved out strongholds in the industry. Even the original “CSI” which took place in Las Vegas and became one of the most popular shows in TV history, filmed largely in California, using Las Vegas only for cityscape shots. Nevada’s tax credit program continues despite lacking funding and includes a 15-25% credit for all expenses for productions spending a minimum of $500,000 with an individual project cap of $6 million. While filmmakers still use Las Vegas’ distinctive background for production, the state hopes a new program can build a long lasting permanent industry providing jobs and benefits to the economy.