A Period of Adjustment
Oops! That big hissing seem is the gaming balloon that had been increasing more than the years, slowly getting rid of air. But, it has not been a tide that lowered all ships nonetheless, as some rising and increasing gaming jurisdictions confirmed powerful growth in 2008.
All round, the commercial and racetrack on line casino sectors (excluding Indian gaming), skilled a three.5 percent decline in gaming revenues for 2008, producing a whole of $36.2 billion, down some $800 million from 2007. It was the Racino sector that has tempered this fall, as they showed a gain of virtually $one billion in 2008, thereby bringing the Professional sector market place decline to $one.eight billion, or 6.seven per cent. Nevada was the greatest loser in 2008, dropping almost $one.three billion, more than half of which stemmed from the Las Vegas Strip section.
For the most element, on line casino operators have been caught comparatively flat-footed by the extent of the 2008 profits downturn, as it was not till the 3rd and fourth quarters when it actually nosedived. Riding the crest of calendar year above year market place progress throughout the place and the availability of ample credit rating and fairness money, new building and growth proliferated in modern several years. Nowadays, faced with the realities of declining, or at ideal stagnant desire, many of these tasks are now regarded as above-leveraged and/or more than-sized. As a result a lot of gaming businesses are attempting to renegotiate their personal debt – produced much more challenging by lower valuations – even though also paring down operational costs. The latter has grow to be a extremely problematic conundrum when dealing with the competitors, particularly in those jurisdictions that are now vying for market shares with new rising on line casino projects in neighboring regions. A subject we talk about much more totally in the Point out by Point out examination segment of this publication.
As a end result of these situations the gaming business landscape is now strewn with impending fatalities. Amid the much more noteworthy troubled companies are Station Casinos, Empire Resorts, Harrah’s Amusement, Greektown Holdings, Legends Gaming, Tropicana Leisure, Herbst Gaming and the checklist grows each 7 days.
“How prolonged will these economic problems persist, and are we at the bottom but?” are queries no a single appears to be answering yet. What is distinct nonetheless is that most gaming jurisdictions will have to discover how to deal with a smaller pie.
This investigation includes only gaming revenues of accredited casinos and pari-mutuel retailers that provide on line casino games, and not Indian gaming functions, card rooms, or small non-on line casino type slot areas. The total write-up, such as revenue tables is offered on our world wide web page.
A essential facet that would seem to have arisen from the ashes of this current craze is that numerous on line casino assignments ended up just as well big to support them selves. The input, in conditions of expenditure dollars, was not proportional to the output, in conditions of net income soon after personal debt provider, when compared to formerly achieved outcomes. More and/or even bigger is not usually far better. Seeing the rise in non-gaming income at the Las Vegas Strip resorts, gave impetus to the growth of more comprehensive features in a lot of other jurisdictions. The flaw in this technique nonetheless is that the fees linked with widening marketplace penetration and occasioned-use, are significantly increased than people incurred to appeal to the base market.
As daytripper marketplaces become a lot more aggressive, on line casino venues will have to rely a lot more and a lot more on their in-home resort patrons, and size their homes (and anticipations) accordingly. Although Steve Wynn commenced a key trend in generating up-market place mega-locations, there just was not enough need on the Strip to warrant the numerous other equivalent initiatives that adopted that aimed at the exact same area of interest.
The trick is to strike a content medium in task configurations which of program demand much less of a ‘seat-of-pants’ strategy, and a single that is more researched. A shameless plug for advancement consultants like ourselves.
Other Gaming Routines
Though there are no published thorough data of American Indian gaming revenues, anecdotal proof appears to propose that this segment has been as difficult hit as the Commercial sector. The two Connecticut Indian gaming installations report slot profits of $one.six billion in 2008, representing a fall of about 7 percent, or virtually $114 million, far more than doubling the three.five percent drop from the year before. This market place is evidently nonetheless reeling from the ripple-influence of a on line casino enlargement in Rhode Island, and the opening of slot operations in New York and Pennsylvania.
The Arizona Department of Gaming reviews that contributions dependent on a gaming earnings system from the state’s 23 Indian gaming casinos, have been declining each and every quarter in 2008 compared to the previous year reducing .eight percent in the initial quarter, 7.five per cent in the 2nd quarter, nine.5 % in the third quarter, and sixteen.one p.c in the fourth quarter.
Some SEC reporting Indian gaming properties report equivalent decreases. Seneca Gaming, which operates three Class III casinos in upstate New York, stories that whilst calendar year 2008 showed an nearly 2 % progress price in gaming revenues, there was an eight.seven % decrease in the third quarter and an nearly 10 p.c drop in the fourth quarter of 2008, in comparison with 2007. Gaming revenue developments at nearby Niagara Falls, Ontario were down 1.five% in 2008 compared with 2007.
It really is been a combined-bag for point out lotteries across the region. The North American Association of Condition & Provincial Lotteries studies that U.S. lotteries created a complete of $60.six billion in sales in fiscal 2008, up about 3 percent from the earlier year however some jurisdictions noted decreases, most notably California, which confirmed an eight per cent drop. Inasmuch as some of these states are on various fiscal calendar year ends, it would look that the info does not replicate the influence of third and/or fourth quarter final results.
In accordance to data supplied by Equibase, horse racing pari-mutuel revenues carry on their downward spiral, slipping 7 per cent to $13.7 billion in 2008, as opposed to $14.7 billion in 2007.
Planned & Proposed New Expansions
As beforehand famous, it has been new gaming jurisdictions that have spawned a lot of the growth in yearly on line casino/racino revenues over the several years, and their effect is apt to proceed into the near potential.
Miami Dade voters accepted a ballot situation that makes it possible for each of a few pari-mutuels to have a casino facility of up to 2,000 slot equipment. The Flagler Pet Track and Miami Jai-Alai are reportedly preparing opening in late 2009 or early 2010, even though the Calder installation in Miami Gardens has yet to introduced its strategies. There are numerous other proposals being deemed that would additional broaden casino improvement during the point out.
The point out finally acquired close to to reissuing its tenth license, late in December, 2008 awarding it to Midwest Gaming & Amusement, LLC for a one,two hundred+ match on line casino situated in Des Plaines just east of O’Hare. The new facility is not likely to open up until 2010. There has also been some discussion about allowing an boost in for each location gaming positions and slots at racetracks, even though neither initiative appears to have any traction at this time.
The state’s expanded lottery program that allows for the growth of 4 casino gaming zones and slots at present horse and puppy tracks appears mired, as only 1 facility is presently underneath construction, whilst three other proposals ended up rescinded. The only bidder on the Cherokee County agreement, claimed it could not contend with the new Quapaw tribal on line casino in Oklahoma, which is positioned so near to the condition line that its parking great deal is in Kansas. The Boot Hill On line casino Vacation resort in Dodge Metropolis is planing a December 2009 opening with 575 slots and 10 desk games, along with a second period because of to open up in 2011 with 875 slots and twenty table game titles. The state has prolonged the software process for the other a few zones till April, 2009.
There is nevertheless a great deal of ‘jockeying’ likely on, but the prospect of as a lot of as 8 slot parlors and racinos seems to be again on the front-burner, but very likely not settled during the current legislative session.
There are about 14,000 rooms scheduled to appear on line in 2009, with the most recent becoming the 390 room M Resort in Henderson. There are expansions underway at equally Caesars Palace and Tough Rock and new hotels consist of two parts of the City Middle project, and the Fountainebleau.
Pinnacle Entertainment’s new on line casino development tasks in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, even though delayed, are noted to nonetheless be on-track for opening this yr and/or early 2010.
There is a bill under thought that could more than double Penn National’s slot devices to 3,000, as nicely as a proposal that would take away the restriction that slots be positioned in five miles of the monitor. Scarborough Downs, which has been unsuccessful in convincing nearby citizens to permit slots, might be contemplating relocating to a much more hospitable town.
A referendum was approved in November, 2008 that makes it possible for for the improvement of 5 casinos with a total of 15,000 slots, and now the bidding war is afoot though it is not as powerful as the state experienced predicted.
Grand Soleil Casino Vacation resort in Natchez experienced been slated to open up in 2008, but has run into numerous financing issues and although the hotel part is open up, the riverboat is documented to open in the Spring of ’09. Harrah’s Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi, whilst scaled again somewhat, is still on track to open up this year.
Massachusetts, a sleeping-giant in phrases of industry possible, is even now maneuvering to open up casinos/racinos, and/or a Class III Indian gaming facility, but cannot seem to be to muster the political help. A modern examine completed by Dartmouth College estimates that Massachusetts resident expended much more than $920 million previous calendar year at Connecticut casinos and slot equipment parlors in Rhode Island and Maine. The New Hampshire legislature just lately declined an choice to create casinos, nevertheless the subject matter is most likely to be revisited, specially if Massachusetts decides to go forward. There are also attempts in Maine to reconsider 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 extra tax. The governor however, has appointed a new panel to examine 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 area)
Just when it seemed as if Aqueduct’s four,500 VLT facility would ultimately be created, the winning bidder indicated an inability to make the needed $370 million charge, citing the present lending weather, and throwing the venture again into the lap of the governor. Although the industry desire in the spot could be considered fairly robust, the prospect of additional competitiveness from nearby Belmont could have an effect on Aqueduct’s underlining economic feasibility, specifically considering that marginally considerably less than 30% of the web earn is retained by the operator.
Plans to relocate Monticello Raceway into a resort complex are being reconsidered maybe owing to equally the possible opening of at least one or possibly two racino functions in the NY metro area, and the resurfacing of initiatives to development a Course III Indian gaming facility in the Catskills.
However another gaming proposal is becoming put forth in Ohio, right after last year’s model was turned down by the voters. This plan phone calls for a single on line casino every in the state’s largest metropolitan areas: Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. There would be a minimum investment decision necessary of $250 million, as properly as an initial licensing fee of $50 million, and a 33 p.c tax on gaming earnings.
The Sands in Bethlehem is owing to open in the Spring of ’09, and the new Rivers undertaking in Pittsburgh is anticipated to be operational in August, ’09 although Philadelphia’s two slot facilities even now wallow in a political mire, but are anticipated to start development this year.
The Lodge at Deadwood is slated to open up in the Fall of 2009, and incorporate 300 video games, one hundred forty rooms and a broad range of features.
Legislators are proposing a voter referendum that would amend the point out constitution to permit casino gambling in designated locations, as nicely as allow gambling on American Indian lands in Texas and at current racetracks.
The Greenbriar, the state’s venerable resort facility has filed for individual bankruptcy, but has a new suitor in Marriott Accommodations, who have reportedly tendered an provide. State govt has proffered the notion of permitting the resort to supply casino games, but this energy is in too early a phase to have any traction one way or another.
A modern Supreme Court docket ruling that restricts the using of lands into have confidence in on behalf of federally identified American Indian tribes has more stymied some new Course III gaming assignments throughout the place. Additionally, there have been eleven Indian on line casino assignments turned down by the DOI last yr simply because of its new rule that casinos have to be in close proximity to sufficient to a reservation that tribal associates can function at them. It has been suggested that the new Obama administration might be far more sympathetic to the advancement of Indian gaming initiatives, but this situation has however to be resolved.
In the meantime, there are other Course III tasks in the different phases of growth. The Seneca on line casino task in Buffalo, NY, even though running a modest short term facility, has delayed an presently underneath construction long term facility until finally the marketplace rebounds. They have also expressed an curiosity in developing a on line casino in the Catskills. The point out gaming compact with Seminoles in Florida is becoming challenged, and could effect their ideas for more substantial projects. There are new Indian gaming projects set to open in Michigan and Oklahoma this 12 months, and other people are in the arranging stage. Texas may possibly allow the reopening of Indian gaming services and let other venue and there are programs afoot by the Navajos in Arizona to assemble added casinos. California is poised to open up two to three new Class III casinos in 2009/ten.
The Nor’easter Squeeze
Whole gaming revenue in Atlantic Metropolis has declined 7.six %, from $4.9 billion in 2007 to $4.5 billion in 2008 with decreases continuing into 2009, as the metropolis is locating alone in an extreme comp-war with the Pennsylvania venues. At 1 time the only casinos in the Northeast ended up situated in Atlantic City, exactly where it appeared as if it may truly even eclipse the Las Vegas Strip’s once-a-year gaming revenues.
Gradually nonetheless its market place share was currently being encroached on, initial by the improvement of a massive Course III gaming operation in Connecticut, and then yet another slots functions in Rhode Island, and then video lottery terminals at New York racetracks, racinos in West Virginia and Delaware, and most recently Pennsylvania.
Now, with the prepared opening of slot functions in Maryland, the impending opening of a new casino in Bethlehem, PA, and eventually two operations in Philadelphia, the noose is tightening about Atlantic City’s potential prospects. It really is reliance on working day-trippers lulled it into a false feeling of protection, and it now finds itself getting to redefine its mission assertion to “destination resort.”
The only difficulty with this technique however is that it is sick-geared up to pull it off. For W88 and needs, Atlantic Metropolis is below-roomed and/or in excess of-gamed. There is just not sufficient day-tripper market to go all around, and their effective investing region is tightening, as the peripheral populations northward now/will have more ready accessibility to a widened source in New York (Yonkers, and soon at Aqueduct and possibly Belmont), westward in Pennsylvania and southward in Delaware, West Virginia and Maryland.
Other than the ocean obtain, the city’s only genuine competitive rewards are its resort potential and the availability of desk games, though the latter is probably to eventuate in Pennsylvania, and potentially Delaware. In buy to sufficiently compete as a location resort the metropolis demands to develop extra visitor rooms and not automatically gaming potential. By comparison, the Las Vegas Strip homes – real gaming locations, in that they do not have considerably of a day-excursion market, except for the ‘locals’ – have an regular of .87 gaming positions for every visitor area while Atlantic City’s average is two.seventy four positions for each visitor space.
It is not a coincidence that Atlantic City’s two greatest lodges, the Borgata and Harrah’s Marina, both of which added new rooms in 2008, were the minimum impacted by the most recent downturn. The Borgata skilled a gaming earnings drop of one.6 percent, whilst Harrah’s Marina noted a four.9 per cent increase when compared to 2007. Moreover, the hardest strike venues, namely the AC Hilton, Resorts and the Trump Marina, also have the smallest amount of rooms. In the meantime some of the venues are teetering on viability, including the the Trump houses and Resorts with the hoped for sale of the Tropicana has been additional delayed, and shedding valuation.
With a constant increase in gaming revenues via 2006, the metropolis seemed primary for even more improvement, which precipitated arranging for 4 new resort tasks, every of which have now been indefinitely delayed. Revel Amusement Group’s $two.5 billion undertaking remains an iron skeleton, Pinnacle Amusement has introduced it may possibly look for to market its razed Sands site, MGM Mirage has shelved its on line casino strategies, and Penn Countrywide seems to have stopped its pursuit of the Bader Subject airport web site.