What Was The Gaming Revenue In Colorado And Mississippi In July?


That used to be an easy question to answer, not just for those two states, but for any state with casinos. However, it is getting more difficult to find the casino revenue figures for some jurisdictions and it is annoying. I have been following the industry and republishing those numbers monthly for the last 18 years, but it gets harder every year. When I started doing a monthly report on gaming 18 years ago, every jurisdiction had at least one newspaper that covered gaming and faithfully published the revenue figures each month.

That is no longer true. The economics of publishing and distributing newspapers has changed forcing newspapers to downsize. Many newspapers have fired or reassigned their gaming reporters and in the process dramatically reduced gaming coverage. Only the Las Vegas Review-Journal has maintained full gaming coverage. The Las Vegas Sun, Reno Gazette Journal, Press of Atlantic City, Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Wilmington News Journal, Cincinnati Enquirer, Indianapolis Star, Northwest Indiana Times, Chicago Tribune, Des Moines Register, Hartford Courant, Baton Rouge Advocate and the New Orleans Times-Picayune have reduced gaming coverage. The newspapers in Colorado, the Denver Post and Colorado Springs Gazette have virtually eliminated any gaming coverage. Possibly the bitterest pill came this month when the Biloxi Sun Herald failed to publish casino revenues for July. The Sun Herald was the last of the local dailies that faithfully covered the casino industry in Biloxi and always published the monthly results. Even the Reno Gazette-Journal uses a wire service often rather than its own reporter.

To fill in for the reporters they have lost, most newspapers in the country use the Associated Press, Bloomberg or Reuters and carry the wire service stories. But if one of these services does not cover the gaming revenue in a jurisdiction, there is no coverage. Traditionally, the wire services have had little interest in South Dakota, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, Mississippi and Missouri. But they cover Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Nevada and New Jersey and this year have added Maryland and Ohio. Without or without the wire services, I have been able to find the monthly gaming revenues someplace. However, for July I could not find them for Colorado or Mississippi. That forced me to go to the state gaming commissions’ websites to find the numbers.

2014 casino revenues fell 5.8% to $180.2 million. Gulf Coast counties revenue was $84.7 million and the Mississippi River counties revenue was: $95.4 million. Mississippi Government, July 2014

Gaming revenues were up slightly in July, with Adjusted Gross Proceeds (AGP) of $67.9 million for the month of July, an increase of .5%…Cripple Creek posted AGP of nearly $11.8 million, a decrease of .4%. Black Hawk’s AGP for July was $50.5 million, an increase of 1.5%. Central City had an AGP of $5.5 million a decrease of 5.9%. Colorado Department of Revenue, July 2014

It is not difficult to get the numbers from the state gaming commissions websites, but it is not satisfying. The numbers by themselves and without context tell only part of the story. It is much better in my mind to have a local perspective on the story – a chance to see the month’s revenue put into a local context. Sitting in Reno, Nevada I can’t do that. Is this another of the lingering impacts of the recession? I wonder if individual reporters, newspapers and even the wire services have become weary of reporting declining revenues month after month and year after year. After years repeating the same story, revenues are down and the competition has increased; I know I am certainly weary of the storyline. The Great Recession has been painful, but we still need the numbers every month. The monthly revenue numbers are the only way to measure the recovery or the impact of competition and to anticipate the future.

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