A Period of Adjustment
Oops! That big hissing sound is the gaming balloon that had been expanding in excess of the a long time, slowly dropping air. But, it has not been a tide that lowered all ships even so, as some emerging and increasing gaming jurisdictions confirmed sturdy progress in 2008.
Total, the industrial and racetrack on line casino sectors (excluding Indian gaming), seasoned a three.5 % decline in gaming revenues for 2008, making a whole of $36.two billion, down some $800 million from 2007. It was the Racino sector that has tempered this drop, as they confirmed a achieve of practically $one billion in 2008, therefore bringing the Commercial sector industry drop to $one.eight billion, or six.7 %. Nevada was the most significant loser in 2008, dropping practically $one.3 billion, more than 50 % of which stemmed from the Las Vegas Strip section.
For the most part, on line casino operators have been caught comparatively flat-footed by the extent of the 2008 earnings downturn, as it was not until finally the third and fourth quarters when it really nosedived. Riding the crest of year more than calendar year market development across the region and the availability of enough credit score and fairness funds, new design and enlargement proliferated in current a long time. Today, faced with the realities of declining, or at very best stagnant need, numerous of these assignments are now regarded in excess of-leveraged and/or above-sized. As a end result several gaming organizations are trying to renegotiate their debt – produced more hard by decrease valuations – whilst also paring down operational charges. The latter has grow to be a quite problematic conundrum when dealing with the opposition, specially in people jurisdictions that are now vying for market shares with new rising on line casino initiatives in neighboring regions. A topic we discuss much more totally in the Point out by Point out examination area of this publication.
As a consequence of these problems the gaming industry landscape is now strewn with impending fatalities. Between the more noteworthy troubled corporations are Station Casinos, Empire Resorts, Harrah’s Leisure, Greektown Holdings, Legends Gaming, Tropicana Entertainment, Herbst Gaming and the listing grows every single 7 days.
“How extended will these financial problems persist, and are we at the bottom but?” are inquiries no 1 appears to be answering yet. What is obvious nonetheless is that most gaming jurisdictions will have to understand how to deal with a more compact pie.
This analysis consists of only gaming revenues of licensed casinos and pari-mutuel shops that offer you on line casino game titles, and not Indian gaming functions, card rooms, or small non-casino variety slot locations. The entire article, which includes revenue tables is accessible on our internet website page.
A essential element that seems to have arisen from the ashes of this existing development is that numerous casino tasks have been just way too huge to support themselves. Doonun 69 , in terms of expenditure pounds, was not proportional to the output, in terms of internet earnings following personal debt support, in comparison to earlier reached outcomes. More and/or even bigger is not constantly far better. Looking at the increase in non-gaming profits at the Las Vegas Strip resorts, gave impetus to the advancement of far more comprehensive facilities in many other jurisdictions. The flaw in this approach even so is that the expenses linked with widening market penetration and occasioned-use, are significantly higher than those incurred to entice the foundation market place.
As daytripper markets become far more competitive, on line casino venues will have to depend a lot more and much more on their in-property resort patrons, and dimension their qualities (and expectations) accordingly. While Steve Wynn started out a key craze in producing up-market place mega-locations, there merely was not ample need on the Strip to warrant the several other similar assignments that adopted that aimed at the identical area of interest.
The trick is to strike a pleased medium in project configurations which of program call for considerably less of a ‘seat-of-pants’ method, and a single that is a lot more studied. A shameless plug for development consultants like ourselves.
Other Gaming Routines
Even though there are no published comprehensive knowledge of American Indian gaming revenues, anecdotal proof appears to suggest that this section has been as hard strike as the Business sector. The two Connecticut Indian gaming installations report slot profits of $one.6 billion in 2008, representing a fall of about seven per cent, or almost $114 million, far more than doubling the three.5 p.c drop from the calendar year ahead of. This market place is evidently nonetheless reeling from the ripple-effect of a casino expansion in Rhode Island, and the opening of slot functions in New York and Pennsylvania.
The Arizona Department of Gaming reports that contributions based mostly on a gaming earnings formulation from the state’s 23 Indian gaming casinos, have been declining each quarter in 2008 compared to the preceding calendar year lowering .eight per cent in the initial quarter, 7.5 p.c in the 2nd quarter, 9.five per cent in the 3rd quarter, and sixteen.one per cent in the fourth quarter.
Some SEC reporting Indian gaming homes report comparable decreases. Seneca Gaming, which operates 3 Course III casinos in upstate New York, studies that even though calendar year 2008 showed an practically two p.c progress rate in gaming revenues, there was an eight.7 percent drop in the third quarter and an practically 10 p.c decrease in the fourth quarter of 2008, when compared with 2007. Gaming profits tendencies at nearby Niagara Falls, Ontario ended up down one.five% in 2008 in contrast with 2007.
It’s been a blended-bag for state lotteries across the nation. The North American Affiliation of Condition & Provincial Lotteries stories that U.S. lotteries created a whole of $60.six billion in income in fiscal 2008, up about three percent from the preceding 12 months nevertheless some jurisdictions reported decreases, most notably California, which showed an eight p.c drop. Inasmuch as some of these states are on numerous fiscal 12 months finishes, it would appear that the knowledge does not reflect the effect of 3rd and/or fourth quarter outcomes.
According to knowledge offered by Equibase, horse racing pari-mutuel revenues keep on their downward spiral, slipping 7 p.c to $13.seven billion in 2008, versus $fourteen.7 billion in 2007.
Prepared & Proposed New Expansions
As formerly famous, it has been new gaming jurisdictions that have spawned significantly of the development in annual casino/racino revenues over the several years, and their effect is apt to continue into the near long term.
Miami Dade voters authorized a ballot issue that makes it possible for each of a few pari-mutuels to have a on line casino facility of up to two,000 slot machines. The Flagler Puppy Monitor and Miami Jai-Alai are reportedly planning opening in late 2009 or early 2010, while the Calder set up in Miami Gardens has but to announced its plans. There are numerous other proposals being deemed that would further increase on line casino development through the state.
The point out lastly obtained close to to reissuing its tenth license, late in December, 2008 awarding it to Midwest Gaming & Amusement, LLC for a 1,200+ sport casino situated in Des Plaines just east of O’Hare. The new facility is not likely to open up until finally 2010. There has also been some dialogue about allowing an enhance in for each spot gaming positions and slots at racetracks, although neither initiative appears to have any traction at this time.
The state’s expanded lottery plan that enables for the improvement of 4 casino gaming zones and slots at existing horse and puppy tracks seems mired, as only one particular facility is presently underneath building, whilst 3 other proposals were rescinded. The only bidder on the Cherokee County deal, claimed it could not contend with the new Quapaw tribal casino in Oklahoma, which is situated so near to the point out line that its parking good deal is in Kansas. The Boot Hill Casino Vacation resort in Dodge City is planing a December 2009 opening with 575 slots and 10 table video games, together with a 2nd phase owing to open up in 2011 with 875 slots and twenty desk game titles. The state has extended the application procedure for the other a few zones until finally April, 2009.
There is even now a great deal of ‘jockeying’ likely on, but the prospect of as several as 8 slot parlors and racinos seems to be again on the entrance-burner, but most likely not solved in the course of the recent legislative session.
There are about fourteen,000 rooms scheduled to arrive on line in 2009, with the most recent currently being the 390 room M Resort in Henderson. There are expansions underway at the two Caesars Palace and Difficult Rock and new hotels include two elements of the Metropolis Heart task, and the Fountainebleau.
Pinnacle Entertainment’s new casino improvement projects in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, even though delayed, are described to even now be on-observe for opening this calendar year and/or early 2010.
There is a invoice below consideration that could much more than double Penn National’s slot devices to 3,000, as properly as a proposal that would take away the restriction that slots be situated in five miles of the monitor. Scarborough Downs, which has been unsuccessful in convincing regional inhabitants to let slots, may be taking into consideration relocating to a more hospitable town.
A referendum was approved in November, 2008 that permits for the advancement of five casinos with a overall of 15,000 slots, and now the bidding war is afoot although it is not as extreme as the state had anticipated.
Grand Soleil On line casino Vacation resort in Natchez experienced been slated to open in 2008, but has operate into various financing problems and while the hotel portion is open, the riverboat is reported to open up in the Spring of ’09. Harrah’s Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi, while scaled back again fairly, is nonetheless on monitor to open this year.
Massachusetts, a sleeping-huge in phrases of marketplace possible, is nevertheless maneuvering to open casinos/racinos, and/or a Course III Indian gaming facility, but can not seem to muster the political help. A modern study completed by Dartmouth College estimates that Massachusetts resident expended more than $920 million previous 12 months at Connecticut casinos and slot equipment parlors in Rhode Island and Maine. The New Hampshire legislature just lately declined an option to develop casinos, nonetheless the subject is most likely to be revisited, specially if Massachusetts decides to go forward. There are also tries in Maine to reconsider its options.
Atlantic City’s casinos have imposed their political will on staving off the addition of slot machines at racetracks by just lately agreeing to keep on augmenting purses with an extra tax. The governor nonetheless, has appointed a new panel to review the state’s sagging racing program which ironically, can only be preserved by enabling the tracks to have slot machines particularly at the Meadowlands. (See The Nor’easter Squeeze part)
Just when it appeared as if Aqueduct’s 4,500 VLT facility would last but not least be designed, the profitable bidder indicated an lack of ability to make the required $370 million charge, citing the existing lending local climate, and throwing the venture back again into the lap of the governor. Though the market place desire in the area could be regarded as really sturdy, the prospect of added competitiveness from close by Belmont could have an effect on Aqueduct’s underlining economic feasibility, specially thinking about that somewhat less than thirty% of the internet win is retained by the operator.
Programs to relocate Monticello Raceway into a vacation resort complex are being reconsidered perhaps owing to equally the possible opening of at the very least a single or maybe two racino functions in the NY metro area, and the resurfacing of initiatives to development a Class III Indian gaming facility in the Catskills.
Yet yet another gaming proposal is becoming put forth in Ohio, after previous year’s version was turned down by the voters. This prepare phone calls for a single casino each in the state’s largest towns: Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. There would be a least expenditure essential of $250 million, as effectively as an original licensing price of $fifty million, and a 33 percent tax on gaming earnings.
The Sands in Bethlehem is because of to open up in the Spring of ’09, and the new Rivers project in Pittsburgh is anticipated to be operational in August, ’09 whilst Philadelphia’s two slot services nonetheless wallow in a political mire, but are expected to start off construction this yr.
The Lodge at Deadwood is slated to open in the Slide of 2009, and contain three hundred game titles, 140 rooms and a vast variety of facilities.
Legislators are proposing a voter referendum that would amend the condition structure to permit casino gambling in specified locations, as properly as permit gambling on American Indian lands in Texas and at current racetracks.
The Greenbriar, the state’s venerable vacation resort facility has filed for bankruptcy, but has a new suitor in Marriott Hotels, who have reportedly tendered an provide. State federal government has proffered the idea of allowing the vacation resort to provide casino online games, but this work is in way too early a phase to have any traction a single way or another.
A modern Supreme Court docket ruling that restricts the using of lands into have faith in on behalf of federally recognized American Indian tribes has more stymied some new Course III gaming assignments across the country. Furthermore, there ended up eleven Indian casino projects turned down by the DOI last year due to the fact of its new rule that casinos should be in close proximity to ample to a reservation that tribal users can function at them. It has been recommended that the new Obama administration might be a lot more sympathetic to the growth of Indian gaming projects, but this concern has however to be addressed.
In the meantime, there are other Class III initiatives in the numerous phases of improvement. The Seneca casino project in Buffalo, NY, although operating a little short-term facility, has delayed an currently beneath design long term facility till the market rebounds. They have also expressed an curiosity in building a on line casino in the Catskills. The point out gaming compact with Seminoles in Florida is currently being challenged, and could effect their strategies for greater assignments. There are new Indian gaming projects established to open in Michigan and Oklahoma this calendar year, and others are in the arranging phase. Texas could allow the reopening of Indian gaming amenities and enable other venue and there are programs afoot by the Navajos in Arizona to assemble additional casinos. California is poised to open two to 3 new Course III casinos in 2009/10.
The Nor’easter Squeeze
Whole gaming profits in Atlantic Metropolis has declined 7.6 per cent, from $four.9 billion in 2007 to $4.five billion in 2008 with decreases continuing into 2009, as the town is locating by itself in an extreme comp-war with the Pennsylvania venues. At 1 time the only casinos in the Northeast ended up positioned in Atlantic Metropolis, in which it appeared as if it may well in fact even eclipse the Las Vegas Strip’s once-a-year gaming revenues.
Slowly however its marketplace share was currently being encroached upon, 1st by the development of a massive Class III gaming procedure in Connecticut, and then another slots operations in Rhode Island, and then video lottery terminals at New York racetracks, racinos in West Virginia and Delaware, and most just lately Pennsylvania.
Now, with the prepared opening of slot functions in Maryland, the impending opening of a new on line casino in Bethlehem, PA, and sooner or later two operations in Philadelphia, the noose is tightening close to Atlantic City’s future prospects. It is reliance on working day-trippers lulled it into a fake feeling of safety, and it now finds alone getting to redefine its mission statement to “vacation spot resort.”
The only difficulty with this method nonetheless is that it is ill-equipped to pull it off. For all intents and purposes, Atlantic Metropolis is underneath-roomed and/or more than-gamed. There is merely not ample working day-tripper marketplace to go about, and their successful trading region is tightening, as the peripheral populations northward now/will have more completely ready accessibility to a widened provide in New York (Yonkers, and quickly at Aqueduct and possibly Belmont), westward in Pennsylvania and southward in Delaware, West Virginia and Maryland.
Other than the ocean accessibility, the city’s only genuine competitive rewards are its resort potential and the availability of desk video games, despite the fact that the latter is most likely to eventuate in Pennsylvania, and perhaps Delaware. In get to adequately compete as a vacation spot resort the metropolis needs to build extra visitor rooms and not essentially gaming capacity. By comparison, the Las Vegas Strip qualities – real gaming destinations, in that they do not have significantly of a day-vacation market, except for the ‘locals’ – have an common of .87 gaming positions per visitor room even though Atlantic City’s regular is 2.seventy four positions for each visitor area.
It is not a coincidence that Atlantic City’s two biggest accommodations, the Borgata and Harrah’s Marina, the two of which added new rooms in 2008, had been the the very least impacted by the most recent downturn. The Borgata knowledgeable a gaming earnings fall of one.six per cent, although Harrah’s Marina noted a 4.nine per cent improve compared to 2007. In addition, the hardest strike venues, specifically the AC Hilton, Resorts and the Trump Marina, also have the smallest variety of rooms. In the meantime some of the venues are teetering on viability, which includes the the Trump homes and Resorts with the hoped for sale of the Tropicana has been more delayed, and shedding valuation.
With a constant rise in gaming revenues by means of 2006, the town appeared key for additional advancement, which precipitated organizing for four new resort assignments, every of which have now been indefinitely delayed. Revel Leisure Group’s $2.five billion task continues to be an iron skeleton, Pinnacle Entertainment has introduced it might find to market its razed Sands web site, MGM Mirage has shelved its on line casino programs, and Penn Countrywide appears to have stopped its pursuit of the Bader Discipline airport internet site.