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STATESIDE

Stateside

F

or years, casino executives have praised their own efforts to “grow the casino marketplace”. The prevailing philosophy in Las Vegas has been that if they built it, the public would come. However, smarter

operators may have also worried that an oversaturation from outside their “feeder” region could decrease customer traffic. That concern is proving true across the US, with

Casinos obviously compete for customers, but with so many new gaming venues, they are now vying for employees.

new gambling jurisdictions opening as an economic solution to budget deficits. Along the Eastern Seaboard, home to 36 per cent of the US population, Atlantic City’s once mighty monopoly is gone. With few exceptions, almost every state from Florida to Maine either operates some form of gaming, or is close to passing gaming legislation. We can celebrate the public’s acceptance of gaming, but every action has a reaction. Statistically, the number of domestic customers frequenting casinos has declined, due to both the economy and the cannibalization among properties. International player traffic has always been conditioned on the dollar’s strength against other currencies. Casinos obviously compete for customers, but with

so many new gaming venues, they are now vying for employees. Ironically, casino human resource managers are actively luring potential staff from nearby states. In mid-April, suburban Philadelphia’s Harrah’s

Chester held a job fair at Harrah’s Caesars’ property in Atlantic City, planning to hire 500 employees for its table games debut. Pennsylvania’s gaming halls predict they will hire more than 4,000 new workers. That is good news for those willing to relocate. Because of Atlantic City’s tough regulatory environment, virtually all transplanted personnel should have solid credentials. The Atlantic City gaming market laid off 2,200 last

year. That follows Pinnacle’s implosion of the Sands in October 2007, which put another 2,100 people out of work. Pinnacle pledged to build a fabulous casino resort on the land. Pinnacle then reneged on its commitment, leaving Atlantic City with an empty lot in a prime location. Claiming economic hardship, Pinnacle has managed to find opportunities elsewhere. You can imagine just how popular the company is throughout New Jersey. However, everything is relative. Regardless of the

employment numbers in Atlantic City and other gaming venues, the most recent statistics from Las Vegas are sobering. Since February 2009, Las Vegas lost 50,300 jobs, or about six percent of its total employment. The current work force equals its 2004

10 JUNE 2010

Sharon Harris cries havoc, and lets slip the dogs of war

levels, before the opening of giant projects like CityCenter, the Wynn, Encore and The Palazzo. Regardless of where they work, gaming employees

must be qualified. Recruiting and teaching high caliber staff members requires money and effort. Atlantic City attorney Lloyd Levenson, senior

partner at the Cooper Levenson law firm, recently announced the development of the new Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism. The institute will be part of the Richard Stockton College near Atlantic City. Levenson will provide a substantial down payment on the total $1 million needed, while also helping in the fundraising. Levenson anticipates the new institute will become a nationally prominent “think tank”. It will conduct polling and research, focusing on greater Atlantic City tourism, plus local and national views of gaming. The center will model itself after programs at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Congratulations, Lloyd, for giving back to the industry that has offered you so much. You join Nevadans like Boyd Gaming Executive Chairman William S. Boyd, whose hefty contribution helped open UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law in August 1998. Speaking of Las Vegas operators, what’s the latest in

the Steve Wynn saga? In a story sounding more like soap opera than business, Wynn now claims he would reconsider his bid for Philadelphia’s Foxwoods casino if the original investment group was gone. It seems he liked Philadelphia, but not the Foxwoods partners. His wish may come true. The Pennsylvania Bureau

of Investigations and Enforcement has begun the process of revoking their slots license, and continues to charge Foxwoods a hefty penalty every day. However, it could take months or more than a year.

The Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners (PEDP) – the Foxwoods investment group - had until June 1 to respond to the complaint. Their request for an extension to July 1 was rejected. As of press time, there is no result. A revocation needs board approval. If Foxwoods officials file legal action, the process could again stretch out over a year. What year might something finally happen? It’s

anyone’s guess when the government becomes involved. Can you imagine private industry working like this? Sometimes though, even the best planning cannot

control events, whether natural or manmade. Record snowfalls in the East, Midwestern tornadoes and flooding, plus the recent horrific Mississippi Gulf Coast oil spill have devastated casino operations and revenues in this first half of 2010. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62
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