A look at what the proposed ‘fun tax’ would mean for your wallet

The third and final night of the 2012 Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 10, 2012.
Photo: Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick’s proposed “fun tax”—which would levy an 8 percent tax on admissions and membership for most forms of recreation in the state—has been the subject of hot debate in the Legislature, even drawing Steve Wynn to Carson City to voice his objections. If Assembly Bill 498 ends up on the books—movie theaters, gym memberships and similar activities are currently included, but are expected to be amended out—businesses will likely pass the added expense onto consumers. Here’s a look at some of the venues and activities the bill includes, and what that might mean for your wallet.

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    Large outdoor concerts and festivals would fall under the broadened list of venues and events in the bill. A three-day general admission ticket to Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway would go up about $25, from $289 to $312. Tickets to Burning Man in Black Rock City would increase from $380 to $411.

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    Cover charges at the Strip’s biggest nightclubs varies from $20 to $50 for women and $30 to $100 for men, meaning an uptick of $1.60 to $8 if the bill passes. But don’t think bottle service and other cover-waiving amenities are ways to tiptoe around the tax—food, beverage and other service and merchandise purchased in place of an admission fee will accrue the 8% charge as well. A $2000 club table, for example, would come with an extra $160 tax tacked onto the bill.

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    Sports games

    Games, races and other forms of competitive entertainment will be affected. Tickets to see the 51s at Cashman Field range from $10 to $30 and would pick up an extra $0.80 to $2.40 with the tax. For the Reno Rodeo, whose tickets currently range from $16 to $21, the proposed tax would range from $1.28 to $1.84.

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    Food and drink

    Beverages and food purchased at a venue where live entertainment is present—think concerts, nightclubs and shows—would be taxed 8% in addition to the tax on the price of admission. That could add another $1.20 to your $15 cocktail at Marquee or close to two dollars for a pretzel, churro and soda ($22) at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

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    Trade shows, exhibitions and convention centers have been looped in under the tax, which could result in upped ticket prices and registration fees for attendees. A three-day VIP pass to the Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock could jump from $350 to $378; CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center could tag another $16 onto its $200 registration fee.

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