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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gambling Taking Hit Too

- I looked at the front page headline in the Times on Saturday, which reads: RICH NATIONS PUSHING JOINT RESCUE; G.M. AND CHRYSLER EXPLORE MERGER - and thought that it's the type of headline that - 50, 100 years from now - people may be looking back at in wonderment, seeing it in a look weathered by whatever the digital equivalent of yellowed newspaper print turns out to be. I would call the current situation 'fascinating' if I knew for sure that it was going to turn out alright. The latest rescue plan, that to inject capital directly into banks in return for ownership stakes, was one of the concepts added to Henry Paulson's original three page (!) plan by Congressional Democrats over the staunch objections of the Bush administration. And as much as I support the Dems, and with all due respect to the gentlemen to be mentioned forthwith, how reassured can we all feel if the Treasury Secretary is now taking his cues from Barney Frank and Chris Dodd in his effort to save the world from depression? Huh?

The problems of horse racing, and the gambling industry as a whole, seem insignificant by comparison of course; but life goes on. As you might have seen, overall handle declined by 10% in the quarter ending Sept 30. Keeneland was down an eye-catching 21% for its first four days. Yowee. Atlantic City casinos posted the biggest monthly decline since gambling started there in 1978.

And yes, even the previously immune Pennsylvania slots industry is finally feeling the effects of the uncertainty.

Revenues from the state’s slot machines fell 15 percent in September. Profits dropped from $156 million to $133 million last month, after a $5 million increase from July to August, according to numbers released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Last year, revenues decreased by less than two percent during the same period.

Gaming industry expert Eugene Martin Christiansen, CEO of Christiansen Capital Advisors, LLC, said he hopes these numbers will end the “old nonsense idea” that the gambling industry is recession-proof...In fact, Christiansen said that no other leisure industry has been hit as hard as gaming in the past few months. “Casinos are being slaughtered by these economic conditions,” he said. [Biz Journals]
Yonkers' racino must be in its own little world given the gains that we saw last week; I'd have to call it an outlier, and can't imagine that it won't soon succumb as well.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Monmouth Park had an increase handle of 10%.

Quality Dirt track and 15% takeout on the Pick 4.