For the most part, economic indicators show that Nevada, one of the state’s hit hardest by the wave of home foreclosures in recent years, has been pulling itself out of the muck.

The unemployment rate dropped in 2011 to 12.6% from the 14.9% rate it posted in 2010, and gambling revenues are expected to increase by 4.3% in 2012 over numbers posted in 2011, according to report from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

But even as positive news is flowing out of the university, a recent report from the school looking at state gambling data showed the casinos have increased debt by 18-fold since 1984 to $51.2 billion as of June 2011.

Revenue on a comparative basis has only increased by five times that amount since 1984, according to the report.

The increase in debt is shifting the finances of the state’s largest industry into unprecedented territory with casinos owing more in long-term debt since 2008 than they collectively earn in revenue each year, the report states.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.