Casino Competition Ramps Up in 2013 – As Predicted
It’s nice to be right about something I predict, but I take no satisfaction in my prognostications about casino competition. Last December, I made some statements about casino competition for 2013 and I was squarely on the mark. Unfortunately, this is not good news for the gaming industry, but at least you were warned. I hope all casinos read what I had to say and took steps to get ready.
Let’s take a look at my predictions and comments from late last year and examine what has happened through July of this year. Keep in mind that outstanding casino customer service is probably your property’s only viable answer to what you are about to read.
“The Headlines Are Already the Proof. Three headlines already tell the world that there is an increase in casino competition that will only blossom in 2013.” What an understatement! Just look at Delaware alone. Earlier this year, Delaware legislators approved $8 million in emergency funds for the state’s three struggling racinos and then they created the Lottery and Gaming Study Commission to address, among other things, declining casino revenues. Dover Downs has threatened to lay off employees if the state doesn’t lower its taxes. Casino competition from neighboring states is clobbering Delaware casinos. And Delaware isn’t the only state where casinos are coming to grips with regional competition.
“States Will Want More and More Gaming Revenue. State governments love tax revenue from casinos and they will want more as they grapple with budget deficits.” Isn’t that the truth? While Delaware casinos were struggling, the state increased its share of gaming revenue 7.5 percent to deal with budget shortfalls. New Hampshire State Reps. Peter R. Leishman and Katherine D. Rogers wrote in July that voters don’t want more taxes to bring in more revenue. Leishman and Rogers went on to state: “So what is left? Maybe it is time for the House of Representatives to listen to the people of New Hampshire who have resoundingly spoken out in the past in favor of expanded gaming in the form of a casino. Only a few lawmakers stand in the way of the overwhelming public support for gambling.” These comments go to the heart of both increased competition and tax revenues.
There’s more. In a July article for The Press of Atlantic City, reporter Donald Wittkowski wrote, “Despite an explosive growth in casino gambling throughout the Northeast — some say the market is already oversaturated — the expansion continues. Tempted by the jobs and tax revenue generated by the gambling industry, states are eager to cash in on casinos.” Of course, the Northeast isn’t the only region where this is happening.
“Internet Gaming Is Looming. The website for the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi and New Jersey have introduced legislation authorizing forms of Internet gaming in their states. The reason they are doing this is because they want to make sure they are not left out of this possible revenue stream.” Oh yes, oh yes!
Take a look at this early July headline from The Star-Ledger in New Jersey: “Every Casino in N.J. Wants to Offer Online Gambling, State Says.” Reporter Ryan Hutchins wrote, “In a sign of how lucrative online gambling in New Jersey may become, every casino in Atlantic City plans to offer its own games in cyberspace, state officials announced today.” Earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an internet gambling bill into law. Online poker is legal in Nevada.
Washington, D.C., is well aware that states are taking matters into their own hands. This year, two congressmen – Peter King of New York and Joe Barton of Texas – introduced bills allowing Internet gambling. It’s coming folks! Internet gaming is getting a toehold in 2013.
All the above is just a few examples. I could tell you a lot more, but I think you get the point. The already competitive gaming industry is getting even tougher in 2013. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.
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