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AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION

The Big Picture

The State of the States 2010 reveals some things

we all know—and maybe did not

Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., President and CEO American Gaming Association

T

here’s no way around it—this past year was tough. The down economy dealt most Americans challenges we haven’t

faced in some time, if ever. For those of us in the commercial casino industry, that meant people had less money to spend on our products. Our revenues in 2009 fell 5.5 percent from 2008 to $30.74 billion. This is the story told in the 2010 edition of AGA’s State of the States report. But as challenging as the year was for most of us, that’s not the entire story. State of the States reports that in the midst of

the challenges, commercial casinos continued to be major employers, providing jobs for 330,000 peo- ple this past year and paying $13.1 billion in wages, benefits and tips. As always, casinos generated a healthy amount of tax revenues where they operate, returning nearly $5.59 billion to states and local communities through direct gaming taxes. This was a 1.6 percent decrease from 2008 contributions, but those taxes helped states and localities pay for important programs and services when deep budget deficits plagued most local and state governments. And while a majority of states followed the

national trend and experienced gaming revenue declines—New Jersey, Nevada and Mississippi were hardest hit—the State of the States report found that others did well. Colorado, Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania all witnessed gains. Pennsylvania saw the most significant increase, as revenues jumped more than 21 percent thanks to new properties opening there. In December, the first casino in Kansas welcomed visitors, becoming the 13th com- mercial casino state in the U.S. As this year’s survey reports, a particular

bright spot for the industry came in the racetrack casino sector, which continued to grow. Gross gam- ing revenues rose in 2009 to $6.40 billion, a 5 per- cent increase over 2008 figures. Gaming tax contri- butions from racinos also increased. Racinos in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma saw signifi- cant employment increases in 2009. For the second year, the AGA teamed up with

the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers to highlight the significant contribu- tions the gaming equipment manufacturing sector is making to the economy. The results show that

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despite the recession, this sector of our industry generated substantial revenue, supported tens of thousands of employees and paid billions of dollars in wages. Survey results also show that gaming equipment manufacturers, like all segments of the commercial casino industry, provide important ben- efits to their employees nation- wide and to their host communi- ties. Most noteworthy, perhaps, 75 percent of those in the busi- ness are optimistic about growth prospects in the near future. As these results indicate—

and as we all know from our own interactions within the com- munities where we do business— commercial casinos have always been good and valuable neigh- bors. The tax revenues, jobs, charitable contributions and other social and economic bene- fits our industry brings with it have created a great deal of good- will. To provide a fuller picture of the impact of casinos in host communities—and to better understand the attitudes and gambling habits of casino county residents—the AGA com- missioned VP Communications, Inc., and national pollster Peter D. Hart, to ask people living and working in gaming communities what they think of their commercial casino “neighbors.” The results showed that our neighbors like us



predications made by some of our opponents, commercial

Despite various

of the difficulties presented

gaming has not fallen out of favor because

by the down economy.

look at why these games draw such interest and provide the level of entertainment that is reported by those who play. Among the results, nearly half of slot players say the games are their favorite because they are less intimidating than some other gambling options. Despite various predications made by some of



and like what we do. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) think casinos have had a positive impact on the community, and an even higher percentage (69 per- cent) say casinos have had a positive impact on their area’s tourism industry. A solid majority (62 per- cent) says casinos are beneficial during recessionary times because of the tax revenues, tourism and jobs we generate. In perhaps the most telling result of the survey, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of those surveyed would vote “yes” if a referendum were held to decide whether or not to keep casino gaming in their communities. This result tells us not only that we’re doing a good job as contributors to the economic fortunes

Global Gaming Business • May 2010

our opponents, commercial gaming has not fallen out of favor because of the difficulties presented by the down economy. In keeping with previous results of the survey on the acceptability of casino gaming, 81 percent say it is acceptable for themselves or others.

This and many other findings in the 2010 edi-

tion of the State of the States should provide confi- dence that with a turnaround in the national econo- my will come a positive change in the economics of the commercial casino industry. As this year’s survey shows, our base is solid—both in the numbers who continue to enjoy the entertainment we offer and those who support our industry—and it will provide a strong foundation for future growth and success.

of host communities, but that we’re succeeding as responsible corporate citizens. It tells those who are considering the prospects for casino gaming within their own communities that average citizens who have experienced our business embrace us. And it puts the lie to opponents’ claims that casinos bring nothing to communities but predation and degradation. The people have spoken, and they clearly say otherwise. At the national level, the

State of the States report reveals

that more than one-quarter of the U.S. adult population visited a casino during 2009, totaling approximately 61.7 million peo- ple. Only the lottery was a more popular form of gambling than visiting a casino. Slot machines are the favorite

game for most casino-goers and have been for a number of years—no surprise there. So we decided to take a more in-depth 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
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