A Period of time of Adjustment
Oops! Money Wheel seem is the gaming balloon that had been developing above the several years, little by little dropping air. But, it has not been a tide that reduced all ships nonetheless, as some rising and increasing gaming jurisdictions confirmed strong progress in 2008.
All round, the business and racetrack on line casino sectors (excluding Indian gaming), seasoned a 3.five p.c drop in gaming revenues for 2008, generating a overall of $36.two billion, down some $800 million from 2007. It was the Racino sector that has tempered this fall, as they showed a achieve of practically $one billion in 2008, therefore bringing the Commercial sector marketplace drop to $1.eight billion, or 6.7 percent. Nevada was the biggest loser in 2008, dropping almost $1.3 billion, a lot more than 50 percent of which stemmed from the Las Vegas Strip section.
For the most portion, on line casino operators had been caught relatively flat-footed by the extent of the 2008 profits downturn, as it was not until the 3rd and fourth quarters when it truly nosedived. Using the crest of calendar year more than calendar year market development throughout the place and the availability of ample credit and equity cash, new development and growth proliferated in latest a long time. Today, faced with the realities of declining, or at very best stagnant desire, numerous of these projects are now deemed above-leveraged and/or in excess of-sized. As a result numerous gaming organizations are attempting to renegotiate their credit card debt – produced much more tough by reduce valuations – whilst also paring down operational fees. The latter has turn into a really problematic conundrum when working with the competitors, especially in people jurisdictions that are now vying for marketplace shares with new rising casino tasks in neighboring places. A matter we examine far more entirely in the State by Condition examination area of this publication.
As a outcome of these circumstances the gaming sector landscape is now strewn with impending fatalities. Amongst the more noteworthy troubled corporations are Station Casinos, Empire Resorts, Harrah’s Leisure, Greektown Holdings, Legends Gaming, Tropicana Enjoyment, Herbst Gaming and the listing grows each week.
“How extended will these financial conditions persist, and are we at the base nevertheless?” are concerns no 1 appears to be answering but. What is distinct nevertheless is that most gaming jurisdictions will have to learn how to deal with a smaller pie.
This evaluation includes only gaming revenues of accredited casinos and pari-mutuel shops that provide casino game titles, and not Indian gaming operations, card rooms, or modest non-casino sort slot places. The complete write-up, including profits tables is available on our net website page.
A essential element that would seem to have arisen from the ashes of this existing craze is that several on line casino tasks ended up just as well large to assist them selves. The input, in phrases of expense dollars, was not proportional to the output, in terms of internet earnings soon after personal debt services, in contrast to earlier accomplished outcomes. Much more and/or greater is not usually better. Viewing the rise in non-gaming earnings at the Las Vegas Strip resorts, gave impetus to the improvement of more extensive amenities in many other jurisdictions. The flaw in this method even so is that the expenses connected with widening industry penetration and occasioned-use, are significantly higher than those incurred to attract the foundation market place.
As daytripper marketplaces grow to be much more competitive, casino venues will have to depend far more and much more on their in-home lodge patrons, and dimensions their homes (and anticipations) accordingly. Although Steve Wynn commenced a main craze in generating up-marketplace mega-locations, there merely was not ample demand from customers on the Strip to warrant the many other equivalent projects that adopted that aimed at the same niche.
The trick is to strike a content medium in undertaking configurations which of program demand less of a ‘seat-of-pants’ strategy, and one that is much more analyzed. A shameless plug for growth consultants like ourselves.
Other Gaming Routines
Though there are no revealed comprehensive info of American Indian gaming revenues, anecdotal proof seems to advise that this phase has been as hard hit as the Business sector. The two Connecticut Indian gaming installations report slot profits of $one.six billion in 2008, representing a drop of about seven %, or virtually $114 million, far more than doubling the 3.five % fall from the yr prior to. This market is seemingly nevertheless reeling from the ripple-influence of a casino enlargement in Rhode Island, and the opening of slot functions in New York and Pennsylvania.
The Arizona Section of Gaming reports that contributions primarily based on a gaming profits method from the state’s 23 Indian gaming casinos, have been declining every quarter in 2008 in comparison to the earlier year decreasing .8 per cent in the 1st quarter, 7.five p.c in the 2nd quarter, nine.5 p.c in the 3rd quarter, and 16.one per cent in the fourth quarter.
Some SEC reporting Indian gaming houses report similar decreases. Seneca Gaming, which operates a few Course III casinos in upstate New York, studies that whilst calendar calendar year 2008 showed an nearly 2 per cent progress charge in gaming revenues, there was an eight.7 % drop in the 3rd quarter and an almost 10 % drop in the fourth quarter of 2008, when compared with 2007. Gaming profits traits at nearby Niagara Falls, Ontario had been down 1.five% in 2008 in contrast with 2007.
It’s been a blended-bag for point out lotteries across the country. The North American Affiliation of Point out & Provincial Lotteries reports that U.S. lotteries created a total of $60.6 billion in product sales in fiscal 2008, up about 3 percent from the preceding calendar year but some jurisdictions described decreases, most notably California, which showed an eight per cent fall. Inasmuch as some of these states are on different fiscal yr finishes, it would look that the knowledge does not mirror the affect of third and/or fourth quarter benefits.
According to data supplied by Equibase, horse racing pari-mutuel revenues proceed their downward spiral, slipping seven per cent to $thirteen.7 billion in 2008, as opposed to $14.seven billion in 2007.
Planned & Proposed New Expansions
As previously observed, it has been new gaming jurisdictions that have spawned a lot of the progress in once-a-year casino/racino revenues above the a long time, and their affect is apt to carry on into the close to long term.
Miami Dade voters accredited a ballot situation that permits each and every of three pari-mutuels to have a on line casino facility of up to 2,000 slot devices. The Flagler Pet Monitor and Miami Jai-Alai are reportedly preparing opening in late 2009 or early 2010, while the Calder set up in Miami Gardens has but to declared its programs. There are several other proposals currently being deemed that would even more grow on line casino improvement through the point out.
The state finally obtained about to reissuing its tenth license, late in December, 2008 awarding it to Midwest Gaming & Leisure, LLC for a 1,two hundred+ game on line casino positioned in Des Plaines just east of O’Hare. The new facility is not very likely to open till 2010. There has also been some dialogue about making it possible for an enhance in for every place gaming positions and slots at racetracks, despite the fact that neither initiative seems to have any traction at this time.
The state’s expanded lottery system that makes it possible for for the development of four casino gaming zones and slots at present horse and pet tracks seems mired, as only a single facility is presently below design, even though a few other proposals ended up rescinded. The only bidder on the Cherokee County deal, claimed it could not contend with the new Quapaw tribal casino in Oklahoma, which is found so shut to the state line that its parking lot is in Kansas. The Boot Hill On line casino Resort in Dodge Metropolis is planing a December 2009 opening with 575 slots and 10 desk game titles, along with a next section because of to open up in 2011 with 875 slots and 20 desk game titles. The state has prolonged the software process for the other three zones till April, 2009.
There is nonetheless a whole lot of ‘jockeying’ likely on, but the prospect of as numerous as 8 slot parlors and racinos appears to be again on the entrance-burner, but probably not settled during the current legislative session.
There are about fourteen,000 rooms scheduled to occur on line in 2009, with the most recent becoming the 390 area M Resort in Henderson. There are expansions underway at both Caesars Palace and Difficult Rock and new lodges incorporate two parts of the Town Center undertaking, and the Fountainebleau.
Pinnacle Entertainment’s new casino advancement projects in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, even though delayed, are noted to nonetheless be on-monitor for opening this year and/or early 2010.
There is a monthly bill underneath consideration that could a lot more than double Penn National’s slot machines to three,000, as nicely as a proposal that would take away the restriction that slots be found inside 5 miles of the track. Scarborough Downs, which has been unsuccessful in convincing neighborhood citizens to permit slots, may possibly be considering shifting to a a lot more hospitable city.
A referendum was accepted in November, 2008 that allows for the development of five casinos with a complete of fifteen,000 slots, and now the bidding war is afoot despite the fact that it is not as intense as the point out had expected.
Grand Soleil Casino Resort in Natchez experienced been slated to open up in 2008, but has operate into a variety of funding problems and although the hotel part is open, the riverboat is noted to open up in the Spring of ’09. Harrah’s Margaritaville On line casino in Biloxi, while scaled back again relatively, is still on monitor to open up this 12 months.
Massachusetts, a sleeping-large in terms of market prospective, is still maneuvering to open up casinos/racinos, and/or a Course III Indian gaming facility, but are not able to appear to muster the political support. A recent review concluded by Dartmouth College estimates that Massachusetts resident expended a lot more than $920 million previous year at Connecticut casinos and slot machine parlors in Rhode Island and Maine. The New Hampshire legislature not too long ago declined an choice to produce casinos, however the matter is very likely to be revisited, specifically if Massachusetts decides to go ahead. There are also attempts in Maine to rethink its choices.
Atlantic City’s casinos have imposed their political will on staving off the addition of slot devices at racetracks by just lately agreeing to continue augmenting purses with an further tax. The governor even so, has appointed a new panel to research the state’s sagging racing system which ironically, can only be preserved by making it possible for the tracks to have slot equipment specially at the Meadowlands. (See The Nor’easter Squeeze part)
Just when it appeared as if Aqueduct’s four,500 VLT facility would finally be created, the winning bidder indicated an inability to make the needed $370 million fee, citing the present lending local weather, and throwing the project again into the lap of the governor. Even though the market demand from customers in the region could be regarded really powerful, the prospect of additional opposition from nearby Belmont could have an affect on Aqueduct’s underlining economic feasibility, particularly taking into consideration that a bit considerably less than thirty% of the net win is retained by the operator.
Programs to relocate Monticello Raceway into a vacation resort intricate are currently being reconsidered probably owing to the two the probable opening of at least one or maybe two racino operations in the NY metro region, and the resurfacing of initiatives to development a Class III Indian gaming facility in the Catskills.
Nevertheless yet another gaming proposal is getting set forth in Ohio, following very last year’s model was turned down by the voters. This prepare calls for one on line casino every in the state’s largest towns: Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. There would be a bare minimum investment required of $250 million, as effectively as an first licensing fee of $50 million, and a 33 % tax on gaming profits.
The Sands in Bethlehem is owing to open up in the Spring of ’09, and the new Rivers task in Pittsburgh is expected to be operational in August, ’09 while Philadelphia’s two slot amenities even now wallow in a political mire, but are predicted to commence building this yr.
The Lodge at Deadwood is slated to open up in the Drop of 2009, and include three hundred games, a hundred and forty rooms and a extensive variety of amenities.
Legislators are proposing a voter referendum that would amend the point out structure to allow casino gambling in specified areas, as nicely as enable gambling on American Indian lands in Texas and at present racetracks.
The Greenbriar, the state’s venerable resort facility has filed for personal bankruptcy, but has a new suitor in Marriott Hotels, who have reportedly tendered an offer. Condition government has proffered the notion of allowing the vacation resort to supply on line casino video games, but this energy is in as well early a stage to have any traction a single way or an additional.
A recent Supreme Court docket ruling that restricts the using of lands into have faith in on behalf of federally acknowledged American Indian tribes has additional stymied some new Class III gaming initiatives across the region. Additionally, there ended up eleven Indian casino assignments rejected by the DOI previous yr simply because of its new rule that casinos should be near sufficient to a reservation that tribal users can work at them. It has been advised that the new Obama administration may possibly be much more sympathetic to the advancement of Indian gaming initiatives, but this problem has however to be tackled.
Meanwhile, there are other Course III tasks in the various levels of improvement. The Seneca casino task in Buffalo, NY, whilst running a modest momentary facility, has delayed an previously beneath construction everlasting facility until the market rebounds. They have also expressed an desire in developing a casino in the Catskills. The condition gaming compact with Seminoles in Florida is being challenged, and could effect their strategies for larger initiatives. There are new Indian gaming assignments set to open in Michigan and Oklahoma this 12 months, and other individuals are in the organizing stage. Texas could let the reopening of Indian gaming facilities and enable other location and there are plans afoot by the Navajos in Arizona to assemble additional casinos. California is poised to open two to a few new Course III casinos in 2009/ten.
The Nor’easter Squeeze
Complete gaming revenue in Atlantic Metropolis has declined 7.six p.c, from $4.nine billion in 2007 to $4.five billion in 2008 with decreases continuing into 2009, as the town is discovering by itself in an extreme comp-war with the Pennsylvania venues. At one particular time the only casinos in the Northeast ended up positioned in Atlantic Metropolis, in which it looked as if it may possibly actually even eclipse the Las Vegas Strip’s annual gaming revenues.
Slowly nevertheless its marketplace share was being encroached upon, initial by the advancement of a big Course III gaming operation in Connecticut, and then another slots operations in Rhode Island, and then movie lottery terminals at New York racetracks, racinos in West Virginia and Delaware, and most just lately Pennsylvania.
Now, with the planned opening of slot operations in Maryland, the impending opening of a new on line casino in Bethlehem, PA, and at some point two functions in Philadelphia, the noose is tightening all around Atlantic City’s potential prospective customers. It is reliance on working day-trippers lulled it into a untrue sense of stability, and it now finds itself getting to redefine its mission statement to “location resort.”
The only problem with this strategy even so is that it is ill-equipped to pull it off. For all intents and needs, Atlantic Metropolis is beneath-roomed and/or above-gamed. There is just not adequate day-tripper market to go close to, and their powerful trading area is tightening, as the peripheral populations northward now/will have far more ready accessibility to a widened supply in New York (Yonkers, and shortly at Aqueduct and probably Belmont), westward in Pennsylvania and southward in Delaware, West Virginia and Maryland.
Other than the ocean entry, the city’s only genuine aggressive advantages are its hotel ability and the availability of table video games, though the latter is very likely to eventuate in Pennsylvania, and probably Delaware. In get to adequately contend as a location resort the city requirements to produce further guest rooms and not essentially gaming potential. By comparison, the Las Vegas Strip properties – real gaming places, in that they do not have considerably of a working day-journey market place, except for the ‘locals’ – have an typical of .87 gaming positions for each visitor space even though Atlantic City’s common is 2.74 positions per visitor place.
It is not a coincidence that Atlantic City’s two biggest resorts, the Borgata and Harrah’s Marina, each of which added new rooms in 2008, ended up the minimum impacted by the latest downturn. The Borgata seasoned a gaming revenue drop of one.six p.c, while Harrah’s Marina documented a 4.nine p.c enhance when compared to 2007. Moreover, the most difficult strike venues, namely 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, including the the Trump homes and Resorts with the hoped for sale of the Tropicana has been even more delayed, and losing valuation.
With a steady increase in gaming revenues through 2006, the metropolis appeared key for further development, which precipitated planning for four new resort assignments, each of which have now been indefinitely delayed. Revel Leisure Group’s $2.5 billion task remains an iron skeleton, Pinnacle Amusement has announced it may find to sell its razed Sands web site, MGM Mirage has shelved its casino ideas, and Penn Nationwide seems to have stopped its pursuit of the Bader Subject airport internet site.