From MSNBC this morning...
THE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN HITS HOME
Casinos rolling snake eyes in bad economyClick here for the whole thing. Pretty scary. But, we are blessed.
Lotteries, horse racing also suffering as gamblers sit on their wallets
By Alex Johnson, Reporter
updated 4:36 a.m. PT, Mon., Dec. 15, 2008
Scratch one axiom.
It appears that weathering the tough economy is enough of a gamble for most Americans. Casinos, lottery agencies and racetracks are losing tons of money as gamblers play it safe, laying to rest once and for all the old nostrum that gambling is a recession-proof industry.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported last week that revenue at the state’s casinos fell by 22 percent in October, compared with the same month last year. It was the 10th straight monthly decline — and the biggest ever. The story was even worse on the Las Vegas Strip, where the October take was down by 26 percent. The steep downturn has sparked a movement to lower the legal gambling age to 18.
What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, to quote the city’s tourism slogan, but gambling business problems are hardly isolated to Nevada. Casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., also reported steep losses in November, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission said last week. Kansas is on the hook for a $25 million deposit it needs to refund to a joint venture that was left holding the bag when Harrah’s, citing its weak financial state, canceled plans to build a giant casino resort in Sumner.
Washington state casinos, meanwhile, reported a 30 percent drop in revenues so far this year, thanks to gamblers who aren’t willing to bet it all these days.
“They come in less often and spend less money,” said Scott Taylor, manager of the Classic Island Casino in Kennewick, Wash.
Randy Black Sr., majority owner of Black Gaming LLC, which runs three casino resorts in Mesquite, Nev., said, “Instead of coming two and three and four times and spending $200, $300 a trip, (gamblers are) coming one or two times and spending $20.”
Black Gaming’s gambling revenue tumbled 28 percent in the third quarter, and the fourth quarter doesn’t look good, either. The company recently laid off about 350 employees at the Oasis, which is closing on Fridays to save money...