Putting September Gaming Revenue into Context

The first nine months of 2014 are on the books, enough to give us a pretty clear picture of the casino industry’s performance in 2014. It is not a pretty picture as I read it. Two things are very clear from the results; first, the gaming industry has not fully recovered from the Great Recession; and secondly, every time a new jurisdiction opens casinos, casinos in nearby jurisdictions take a big hit.

The majority of reporting jurisdictions in 2014 are down compared to 2013. The states reporting increases are, for the most part, the new jurisdictions. But even in the new jurisdictions, when there is a year by year comparison to make, same store sales are down. That is the case in Ohio. Every month there are exceptions, in September Louisiana and Colorado reported minor improvements. Generally, those can be accounted for in unusual events, such as the fires and floods that plagued Colorado in 2012 and 2013.

All of the results are in for September, except for Nevada which does not release its numbers until the end of the month. By way of comparison, here are the September gaming revenue numbers from 2006 and 2014 side-by-side. First, note that the casinos in Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania did not exist in 2006. In 2014, those casinos accounted for about $500 million in gaming revenue. Also not included in the 2006 results are the non-casino slots in Illinois and VLTs in New York, which account for an additional $122 million in revenue. Additionally, numerous new Indian casinos have opened since 2006, the most significant being in Alabama, California and Oklahoma all of which have had a major impact on non-Indian casinos in the region.

Atlantic City September gaming revenues fell 13% to $197.7 million. Associated Press, 10-15-14
Atlantic City: September gaming revenue rose 9.2% to $468.8 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 10-16-06

Colorado October casino revenue rose 1.6% to $60.7 million. Division of Gaming, 10-18-14
Colorado: October casino revenue increased 8% to $69.7 million. Denver Post, 10-18-06

Detroit September casino revenues fell 3% to $103.1 million. Detroit Free Press, 10-15-14
Detroit: September gaming revenue rose 16.1% to $109.8 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 10-16-06

Connecticut September slot win fell 12% to $81.5 million. Associated Press, 10-15-14
Connecticut: September slot win rose 2% to $ 147.1 million. New London Day, 10-17-06

Illinois September gaming revenue fell 6% to $118.2 million. Gaming Industry Report, 10-13-14
Illinois September non-casino slot revenue was $57 million. Gaming Commission, 10-14
Illinois: September gaming revenue rose 8.3% to $109 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 10-16-06

Indiana September gaming revenue fell 10% to $156 million. Gaming Industry Report, 10-13-14
Indiana: September gaming revenue rose 10% to $213.5 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 10-16-06

Iowa September casino revenues fell 2.3% to $110 million. Gaming Industry Report, 10-20-14
Iowa: September revenue rose 25.2% to $112.7 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 10-16-06

Louisiana September gaming revenue rose 0.3% to $182.8 million. Bayou Buzz, 10-16-14
Louisiana’s casinos won $209.1 million in September. Associated Press, 10-17-06

Mississippi September gaming revenues fell 5.9% to $160.1 million. Biloxi Sun Herald, 10-22-14
Mississippi: September gaming revenues increased to $241 million. Biloxi Sun Herald, 10-18-06

Missouri September gaming revenues fell 3.4% to $130.1 million. Gaming Industry Report, 10-20-14
Missouri: September gaming revenue rose 7.7% to $133 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 10-16-06

Macau September gaming revenue fell 11.7% to $3.21 billion. Reuters, 10-6-14

Maryland September gaming revenue rose 26.2% to $84.4 million. Baltimore Sun, 10-7-14

New York September VLT revenue fell 2.4% to $152 million. Gaming Commission, 10-14

Ohio gaming revenue was up 35.9% to $124 million. Gaming Industry Report, 10-13-14

Pennsylvania September gaming revenue fell 2.2% to $239.5 million. Courier Times, 10-16-14

West Virginia gaming revenue fell 7% to $93.5 million. Charleston Gazette, 10-23-14
West Virginia September gaming revenue was $184.7 million. Gaming Commission, 10-06

Clearly, since 2006, the hardest hit states have been Colorado, New Jersey, Indiana, Mississippi and West Virginia. Colorado is an anomaly, it has no new competition. However, the state imposed smoking ban started in 2007 and revenue numbers have declined most months since. The others states on the list can be explained by the dramatically increased competition. You can easily read the impact of the Great Recession and added competition in the comparison of the two sets of numbers. No state has returned to the pre-recession growth rate, most have barely returned to pre-recession levels of revenue. And for the states with increased competition, it is a double whammy as reflected by revenues in New Jersey, Connecticut and West Virginia that are half or less than the 2006 revenue figures. Indiana is not far behind.

There is nothing new in any of this, but I think it is useful once in a while, to look at longer trends and not always compare month-by-month, year-by-year. In the usual comparison, we often miss the significance of the length of the trend, its significance and its implication for the future.


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