Atlantic City is slowly being resuscitated after experiencing two years of marked decrease in revenues, due mainly to the economic upheaval that affected American gamblers’ throughout the nation. A recorded increase in income has been observed in the previous year despite continuing layoffs. Based on a survey conducted by the American Gaming Association, US commercial casinos took in $34.6 billion of earnings in 2010, which reflects an increase of almost one percent from 2009’s $34.28 billion revenues. The said figures were culled from the data collected from 483 commercial casinos in the country.
However, the said higher earnings was not able to do much in terms of saving the jobs of more than 4,000 employees who were let go due to worsening economic conditions. In fact, Oklahoma—one of the more seriously affected states—had to close one of its three racetacks, leaving 327 people jobless. American Gaming Association president Frank Fahrenkopf Jr is optimistic that better times are ahead. In response to the challenges which casinos had to face in the previous years, the gaming industry has been undertaking bold steps via implementation of fresh strategies. Judging from the annual figures reported by some casinos, it seems that efforts are slowly but surely paying off.
Pennsylvania’s strategy to add table games was able to rake in almost $2.5 billion which translates to an increase of 26 percent. Meanwhile, Florida’s income was identified at 52 percent, due mainly to the opening and the full operations of separate casinos. Racinos in New York and Oklahoma benefitted from seven percent increases in earnings, while South Dakota’s 34 low-stakes casinos managed to reap a 4.2 percent boost. Interestingly, Kansas recorded nearly 1,800 percent increase in 2010, getting revenues of $37.8 million. Such was considered nothing short of being a stroke of luck in terms of statistical evaluation and reporting. The said state’s lone casino began operations in December 2009, which led to the staggering increase recorded as it concluded its first year of operations in 2010.
Still, the current scenario for most casinos calls for utmost perseverance and ingenuity. For instance, a comparative look at Nevada’s revenues for 2009 and 2010 reflect no major increase as the amount basically went unchanged. Meanwhile, casinos located in Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi saw revenue decreases of less than five percent each. Atlantic City, on the other hand, suffered the steepest decline which was pegged at 9.4 percent. This is largely due to competitors located in nearby Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, as well as the Indian Casinos in Connecticut. Fahrenkopf confirmed that the economic recession hurt Atlantic City as it came right in the middle of plans to build five additional casino establishments. He said that the situation was so dismal that only one out of the five planned casinos pushed through. Fahrenkopf was referring to the Revel, which unfortunately remains half-finished.
Although statistics used in the Association’s survey does not cover the performance of Indian casinos in 2010, it does provide other pertinent data regarding a typical casino player. According to the survey, males visit casinos more than women. Also, people within the 50-64 age brackets have the most tendencies to regularly play in casinos. Other results from the survey showed that slots continue to be the most favorite form of gambling, as clearly proven by a vote of 51 percent. Lagging far behind as second is Blackjack with 19 percent; while poker, craps and roulette completed the top five favorites.
It was also found out that a person’s distance to casino establishments greatly influenced the frequency of visit—those who reside two hours away from casinos went and played almost ten times annually, while those living in more distant places would only go thrice each year. The number of persons who played in casinos also dropped from 28 to 25 percent in 2010, which once against substantiates the safe assumption that US fiscal slump affected the spending power of Americans. It was also revealed that although a number of people continued to patronize casinos, a considerable portion went there to either dine or enjoy the shows, with no intention to play. In fact, more than half the survey respondents said that they went to casinos to catch a show or to sample the dishes in the restaurants. Those who said they never gamble when visiting casinos compose 16 percent of the respondents.