A Time period of Adjustment
Oops! That huge hissing seem is the gaming balloon that experienced been increasing above the years, gradually shedding air. But, it has not been a tide that reduced all ships nonetheless, as some emerging and growing gaming jurisdictions showed strong development in 2008.
All round, the commercial and racetrack casino sectors (excluding Indian gaming), knowledgeable a 3.five % decrease in gaming revenues for 2008, producing a overall of $36.two billion, down some $800 million from 2007. It was the Racino sector that has tempered this fall, as they confirmed a gain of almost $1 billion in 2008, therefore bringing the Professional sector marketplace drop to $one.8 billion, or 6.seven percent. Nevada was the most significant loser in 2008, dropping almost $one.three billion, much more than fifty percent of which stemmed from the Las Vegas Strip section.
For the most element, casino operators have been caught fairly flat-footed by the extent of the 2008 income downturn, as it was not till the third and fourth quarters when it truly nosedived. Driving the crest of yr above yr market progress across the region and the availability of enough credit and equity cash, new construction and growth proliferated in modern years. These days, faced with the realities of declining, or at best stagnant demand from customers, a lot of of these tasks are now regarded as over-leveraged and/or more than-sized. As a outcome several gaming firms are making an attempt to renegotiate their personal debt – produced a lot more tough by lower valuations – although also paring down operational charges. The latter has turn into a really problematic conundrum when working with the competitors, especially in those jurisdictions that are now vying for market place shares with new rising on line casino tasks in neighboring locations. A subject we talk about far more fully in the Point out by State investigation section of this publication.
As a end result of these situations the gaming business landscape is now strewn with impending fatalities. Amid the far more notable troubled companies are Station Casinos, Empire Resorts, Harrah’s Enjoyment, Greektown Holdings, Legends Gaming, Tropicana Leisure, Herbst Gaming and the list grows every 7 days.
“How prolonged will these financial situations persist, and are we at the bottom yet?” are concerns no one particular appears to be answering nevertheless. What is distinct even so is that most gaming jurisdictions will have to learn how to deal with a scaled-down pie.
This evaluation includes only gaming revenues of accredited casinos and pari-mutuel outlets that offer you casino video games, and not Indian gaming functions, card rooms, or little non-on line casino kind slot areas. The entire write-up, which includes revenue tables is accessible on our web webpage.
A crucial factor that appears to have arisen from the ashes of this existing craze is that many casino projects were just also huge to assist by themselves. The enter, in terms of expense bucks, was not proportional to the output, in terms of web revenue following financial debt support, compared to previously reached results. Far more and/or greater is not always greater. Observing the increase in non-gaming profits at the Las Vegas Strip resorts, gave impetus to the growth of a lot more extensive features in a lot of other jurisdictions. The flaw in this strategy nonetheless is that the costs connected with widening marketplace penetration and occasioned-use, are substantially greater than people incurred to attract the base market place.
As daytripper marketplaces become a lot more competitive, casino venues will have to rely more and far more on their in-residence resort patrons, and measurement their homes (and anticipations) appropriately. Whilst Steve Wynn started out a major pattern in producing up-marketplace mega-locations, there basically was not sufficient desire on the Strip to warrant the several other similar initiatives that adopted that aimed at the identical specialized niche.
The trick is to strike a content medium in project configurations which of course require considerably less of a ‘seat-of-pants’ strategy, and one that is far more studied. A shameless plug for development consultants like ourselves.
Other Gaming Pursuits
Even though there are no released detailed knowledge of American Indian gaming revenues, anecdotal evidence appears to recommend that this segment has been as difficult hit as the Industrial sector. The two Connecticut Indian gaming installations report slot revenue of $one.6 billion in 2008, symbolizing a drop of about 7 percent, or virtually $114 million, much more than doubling the 3.five per cent drop from the 12 months ahead of. This market place is evidently even now reeling from the ripple-result of a casino expansion in Rhode Island, and the opening of slot operations in New York and Pennsylvania.
The Arizona Section of Gaming reports that contributions primarily based on a gaming earnings method from the state’s 23 Indian gaming casinos, have been declining each quarter in 2008 when compared to the preceding yr decreasing .8 percent in the first quarter, 7.5 per cent in the 2nd quarter, nine.5 % in the 3rd quarter, and 16.1 p.c in the fourth quarter.
Some SEC reporting Indian gaming houses report related decreases. Seneca Gaming, which operates a few Course III casinos in upstate New York, studies that even though calendar calendar year 2008 showed an almost 2 % growth price in gaming revenues, there was an 8.7 per cent decline in the third quarter and an practically 10 % decline in the fourth quarter of 2008, in contrast with 2007. Gaming revenue trends at nearby Niagara Falls, Ontario ended up down one.five% in 2008 in contrast with 2007.
It’s been a mixed-bag for point out lotteries across the nation. The North American Affiliation of Point out & Provincial Lotteries reports that U.S. lotteries generated a total of $60.six billion in sales in fiscal 2008, up about three p.c from the preceding 12 months nevertheless some jurisdictions described decreases, most notably California, which showed an eight per cent drop. Inasmuch as some of these states are on a variety of fiscal yr finishes, it would seem that the data does not replicate the affect of 3rd and/or fourth quarter final results.
In accordance to info provided by Equibase, horse racing pari-mutuel revenues keep on their downward spiral, falling 7 % to $thirteen.seven billion in 2008, vs . $14.7 billion in 2007.
Planned & Proposed New Expansions
As formerly mentioned, it has been new gaming jurisdictions that have spawned a lot of the development in once-a-year on line casino/racino revenues over the years, and their affect is apt to keep on into the near foreseeable future.
ji-kim.org accepted a ballot concern that makes it possible for every single of 3 pari-mutuels to have a on line casino facility of up to two,000 slot equipment. The Flagler Pet Observe and Miami Jai-Alai are reportedly arranging opening in late 2009 or early 2010, although the Calder installation in Miami Gardens has yet to introduced its programs. There are numerous other proposals currently being regarded that would even more broaden casino improvement through the point out.
The condition last but not least acquired about to reissuing its tenth license, late in December, 2008 awarding it to Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC for a 1,200+ game on line casino found in Des Plaines just east of O’Hare. The new facility is not very likely to open right up until 2010. There has also been some discussion about enabling an improve in for each location gaming positions and slots at racetracks, even though neither initiative seems to have any traction at this time.
The state’s expanded lottery program that permits for the development of 4 casino gaming zones and slots at current horse and dog tracks seems mired, as only one particular facility is presently beneath building, while a few other proposals have been rescinded. The only bidder on the Cherokee County deal, claimed it could not compete with the new Quapaw tribal on line casino in Oklahoma, which is located so close to the state line that its parking lot is in Kansas. The Boot Hill Casino Vacation resort in Dodge City is planing a December 2009 opening with 575 slots and ten table video games, together with a 2nd stage because of to open in 2011 with 875 slots and 20 table games. The state has prolonged the application approach for the other a few zones until April, 2009.
There is still a whole lot of ‘jockeying’ likely on, but the prospect of as many as eight slot parlors and racinos appears to be back on the entrance-burner, but most likely not resolved for the duration of the present legislative session.
There are about fourteen,000 rooms scheduled to come on line in 2009, with the most current currently being the 390 space M Resort in Henderson. There are expansions underway at each Caesars Palace and Tough Rock and new resorts include two factors of the Metropolis Heart task, and the Fountainebleau.
Pinnacle Entertainment’s new casino growth initiatives in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, whilst delayed, are noted to nevertheless be on-keep track of for opening this 12 months and/or early 2010.
There is a bill under thing to consider that could more than double Penn National’s slot machines to three,000, as properly as a proposal that would get rid of the restriction that slots be positioned within five miles of the track. Scarborough Downs, which has been unsuccessful in convincing regional people to enable slots, could be taking into consideration shifting to a far more hospitable city.
A referendum was accepted in November, 2008 that allows for the growth of five casinos with a whole of fifteen,000 slots, and now the bidding war is afoot despite the fact that it is not as intense as the condition experienced predicted.
Grand Soleil On line casino Resort in Natchez had been slated to open up in 2008, but has run into numerous financing problems and while the hotel portion is open, the riverboat is reported to open in the Spring of ’09. Harrah’s Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi, whilst scaled back again considerably, is still on track to open up this calendar year.
Massachusetts, a sleeping-giant in phrases of market place likely, is nevertheless maneuvering to open casinos/racinos, and/or a Class III Indian gaming facility, but are not able to appear to muster the political assist. A recent research completed by Dartmouth University estimates that Massachusetts resident spent more than $920 million final calendar year at Connecticut casinos and slot machine parlors in Rhode Island and Maine. The New Hampshire legislature lately declined an alternative to produce casinos, even so the subject matter is most likely to be revisited, specifically if Massachusetts decides to go forward. There are also makes an attempt in Maine to rethink its choices.
Atlantic City’s casinos have imposed their political will on staving off the addition of slot machines at racetracks by just lately agreeing to carry on augmenting purses with an added tax. The governor even so, has appointed a new panel to study the state’s sagging racing plan which ironically, can only be preserved by allowing the tracks to have slot equipment specifically at the Meadowlands. (See The Nor’easter Squeeze segment)
Just when it seemed as if Aqueduct’s four,500 VLT facility would lastly be developed, the successful bidder indicated an lack of ability to make the essential $370 million charge, citing the existing lending local weather, and throwing the task again into the lap of the governor. Even though the marketplace need in the location could be regarded as fairly sturdy, the prospect of further competition from nearby Belmont could have an affect on Aqueduct’s underlining economic feasibility, specially thinking about that somewhat significantly less than 30% of the web get is retained by the operator.
Plans to relocate Monticello Raceway into a resort intricate are becoming reconsidered possibly owing to each the possible opening of at least a single or probably two racino functions in the NY metro area, and the resurfacing of initiatives to growth a Class III Indian gaming facility in the Catskills.
Yet one more gaming proposal is getting place forth in Ohio, after last year’s variation was turned down by the voters. This program calls for one particular on line casino each in the state’s greatest towns: Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. There would be a least investment decision needed of $250 million, as nicely as an initial licensing charge of $fifty million, and a 33 p.c tax on gaming profits.
The Sands in Bethlehem is thanks to open in the Spring of ’09, and the new Rivers project in Pittsburgh is expected to be operational in August, ’09 while Philadelphia’s two slot services even now wallow in a political mire, but are anticipated to start construction this year.
The Lodge at Deadwood is slated to open in the Drop of 2009, and contain three hundred video games, a hundred and forty rooms and a extensive assortment of features.
Legislators are proposing a voter referendum that would amend the state structure to let on line casino gambling in selected areas, as well as permit gambling on American Indian lands in Texas and at existing racetracks.
The Greenbriar, the state’s venerable resort facility has filed for individual bankruptcy, but has a new suitor in Marriott Hotels, who have reportedly tendered an offer you. State federal government has proffered the idea of making it possible for the vacation resort to offer casino games, but this effort is in also early a phase to have any traction 1 way or one more.
A recent Supreme Courtroom ruling that restricts the taking of lands into trust on behalf of federally acknowledged American Indian tribes has even more stymied some new Class III gaming assignments throughout the region. Additionally, there ended up eleven Indian on line casino initiatives rejected by the DOI final yr simply because of its new rule that casinos should be near adequate to a reservation that tribal customers can work at them. It has been recommended that the new Obama administration may possibly be much more sympathetic to the development of Indian gaming projects, but this concern has nevertheless to be tackled.
Meanwhile, there are other Class III initiatives in the different phases of growth. The Seneca casino project in Buffalo, NY, even though operating a tiny short-term facility, has delayed an presently below building long lasting facility right up until the industry rebounds. They have also expressed an interest in creating a casino in the Catskills. The state gaming compact with Seminoles in Florida is getting challenged, and could effect their strategies for bigger initiatives. There are new Indian gaming projects established to open up in Michigan and Oklahoma this 12 months, and others are in the organizing phase. Texas may possibly allow the reopening of Indian gaming amenities and enable other location and there are strategies afoot by the Navajos in Arizona to build extra casinos. California is poised to open up 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 %, from $four.nine billion in 2007 to $four.five billion in 2008 with decreases continuing into 2009, as the metropolis is locating alone in an powerful comp-war with the Pennsylvania venues. At one particular time the only casinos in the Northeast were situated in Atlantic Metropolis, exactly where it looked as if it may possibly really even eclipse the Las Vegas Strip’s once-a-year gaming revenues.
Gradually however its market place share was currently being encroached upon, initial by the development of a massive Course III gaming procedure in Connecticut, and then an additional slots functions 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 operations in Maryland, the impending opening of a new on line casino in Bethlehem, PA, and eventually two operations in Philadelphia, the noose is tightening about Atlantic City’s future potential clients. It truly is reliance on working day-trippers lulled it into a fake feeling of stability, and it now finds alone obtaining to redefine its mission statement to “location resort.”
The only difficulty with this approach even so is that it is ill-equipped to pull it off. For all intents and reasons, Atlantic City is beneath-roomed and/or over-gamed. There is just not adequate working day-tripper industry to go all around, and their successful investing spot is tightening, as the peripheral populations northward now/will have far more prepared entry to a widened provide in New York (Yonkers, and soon 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 actual competitive rewards are its lodge capability and the availability of desk game titles, although the latter is most likely to eventuate in Pennsylvania, and potentially Delaware. In order to adequately contend as a spot vacation resort the city wants to build additional visitor rooms and not automatically gaming capacity. By comparison, the Las Vegas Strip houses – correct gaming destinations, in that they do not have much of a day-excursion market, other than for the ‘locals’ – have an common of .87 gaming positions per guest place whilst Atlantic City’s typical is two.seventy four positions per guest room.
It is not a coincidence that Atlantic City’s two premier lodges, the Borgata and Harrah’s Marina, the two of which included new rooms in 2008, ended up the minimum impacted by the most current downturn. The Borgata skilled a gaming profits drop of one.6 p.c, even though Harrah’s Marina documented a four.9 % increase in contrast to 2007. Additionally, 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 more delayed, and getting rid of valuation.
With a regular rise in gaming revenues by means of 2006, the town seemed primary for additional growth, which precipitated preparing for 4 new vacation resort initiatives, every single of which have now been indefinitely delayed. Revel Leisure Group’s $two.five billion venture stays an iron skeleton, Pinnacle Amusement has declared it may seek out to market its razed Sands site, MGM Mirage has shelved its casino ideas, and Penn Countrywide seems to have stopped its pursuit of the Bader Subject airport web site.