Casino Industry hints that Pa. may already be saturated with Casinos

Posted by By at 26 March, at 12 : 10 PM Print

News out of Philadelphia this week brought some of us up short.

Some of the attendees at the Pennsylvania Gaming Congress and Mid-Atlantic Racing Forum on March 21 said the state might want to step back and catch its breath before licensing any new casinos.

How’s that again? People who are part of the gambling industry suggesting that maybe, just maybe, we already have enough casinos where ordinary citizens can go have fun losing money in a sour economy?

Put your affairs in order, because this must be the end of the world. Jesus will be here at any moment.

The event in Philly was an annual gathering of casino operators, racing executives, legislators, regulators, and other industry-related professionals. This was the seventh annual gathering.

At that conference, it was reported that Pennsylvania’s gambling industry has hammered the casino industry in Atlantic City, and that Pa. could surpass AC in terms of gaming revenues sometime next year.

An analyst says Pennsylvania’s growing gambling industry is bringing stiff competition to the casino industry in Atlantic City, N.J., and that the state could surpass struggling Atlantic City in terms of gaming revenue sometime next year.

News sources are reporting that the 10 casinos in the Keystone State took in roughly $2.5 billion last year, compared to the $3.6 billion raked in by 11 AC casinos in the same period.

This is where the “saturation” part comes in. Among the items discussed by the casino operators etc., was whether Philadelphia should get a second casino and how many more casinos the state should have, with neighboring Ohio set to have new casinos soon.

And not just Ohio. The Associated Press reported on March 24 that Delaware’s equivalent to Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board voted to table an effort to allow two more casinos in the state. The argument given by opponents is that the gambling market in the region is already saturated.

Maryland already has slots casinos, and they have begun pushing to be allowed to add table games.

One of the investment bankers, at the Philly meeting, suggested that Pennsylvania might just be wiser putting money into its existing casinos, rather than approving new ones.

I hope the Pennsylvania Gaming Board was paying attention in Philadelphia. The board has been dragging its feet for months on a vote to award the final Category 3 Resort license to one of four sites. They are:

Mason-Dixon, who wants to refurbish an underperforming hotel complex a few miles from the Gettysburg National Military Park into a casino; Nemacolin, a luxury resort in Fayette County; Fernwood Hotel & Resort in the Poconos and the Holiday Inn West in Hampden Twp.

If people within the gaming industry itself are beginning to think that less is more, maybe the gaming board itself should listen. It would be a real shame for investors, dreaming of riches, to back a new casino that never quite lives up to its potential.

(Fewer casinos may actually give a boost to another end of the gambling industry, you can read more about that by clicking on Rock The Capital.)

This post was written by:
- who has written 28 posts for Rock The Capital
T.W. Burger was born in western Pennsylvania but spent more than 30 years growing up in Athens Ga., with a two-year side-trip to Greenville, Mississippi. He has lived in the Gettysburg area since 1985. Before becoming a newspaper reporter at 35, he was an apprentice mortician, concrete mixer driver, garbageman, salesman, laboratory technician and all-around roustabout. He has written professionally since the late 1970s. He lives along Marsh Creek near Gettysburg with his partner Sue and a loose affiliation of cats. He is the author of the “Burger to Go” blogsite at - Email tburger

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