Wall Street Journal highlights nationwide gambling

By Bob Sweeney

By Bob Sweeney

I’m not sure how many gamers out there read The Wall Street Journal, but it had a very interesting article about the gambling business back in September. Have had it on my desk to “columize” (a new word), and here’s the gist of what the paper had to say about gambling in general.

Gambling has spread from onetime monopolies in Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City to nearly every corner of America. This country is still the largest gambling nation with $104.1 billion wagered in gaming and lottery tickets.  China is in second place with Macau at $58.6 billion. I’ve been to Macau and it is a massive gambling mecca with all the bells and whistles.

Indian casinos generated $29.34 billion in gambling revenues in 459 casinos in 28 states, compared to $38.32 billion in commercial casinos. The Indians may eventually win back America.

The casino industry has generally been flat since the economic recession and some markets have seen revenues decline. Despite modest growth, as more states have loosened gambling restrictions, some markets are nearing saturation.

California has the most Indian casinos, generating around $7 billion. This money once flowed to Las Vegas.  Nevada still leads the commercial casinos, followed by Pennsylvania, which opened its first casino only 10 years ago, surpassing Atlantic City.

Las Vegas tourism has increased nearly every year since 2010, but today’s visitors don’t spend as much money as in the past years. Las Vegas’s income has not yet recovered from the high of $6.8 billion in 2007 and visitor spending has dropped by 15 percent.

Baccarat revenue has declined the most by 23 percent in Nevada in the past two years. $100 bills were removed a decade ago and replaced with plastic chips, abandoning the high piles of cash once seen on Baccarat tables. The largest drop has come from Chinese visitors and a decline in VIP play in Macau and the United States.

UNLV Center for Gaming Research reports that gaming revenue in 2015 was about 35 percent of Las Vegas Strip casino income with the remainder coming from hotel rooms, food, nightclubs and entertainment. In 1984, gambling’s share of revenue was nearly 59 percent. We liked playing those single-deck games with better odds.

Only three states have legalized online gambling—New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. An estimated 10.8 million people gambled online in 2015, accounting for $6.8 billion in revenue, much of that offshore sports books. Legal online gambling within the United States in the three states generated around $160 million.

Slot machines provide 77 percent of casino revenue nationally and are the most important source of revenue for all casinos. Slot revenue in Las Vegas has declined 16 percent since 2007, with younger people shying away from slot gambling.

Daily fantasy sports played for money amounted to about $3.8 million in 2015. One percent of the players amounted to 60 percent of the entry fees.

About 2.5 million people are estimated to be pathological gamblers, with an additional three million to be problem gamblers and 15 million at risk for problem gambling. Don’t we love to play those games.

Only two states are left without any form of legalized gambling, those being Utah and Hawaii Bet one can find a poker game somewhere in Salt Lake City and on the islands.

Rhode Island is the state that depends the most per capita on gambling, amounting to $457.20 per resident—that surpasses Nevada.

New York collects the most taxes overall from gambling, amounting to $3.2 billion. Pennsylvania is second at $2.4 billion. Last report showed Colorado’s taxable revenues around $100 million.

That’s the way it across America. Colorado wasn’t mentioned in the statistics, but we all enjoy the games of chance, the great buffets, entertainment and new hotel rooms.

Shop at home and spend your gambling money in Black Hawk and Central City—and what a great place for holiday parties.

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