There is a Limit
Just how much casino expansion can take place in the US before existing casinos begin to see a drop-off in their business? Today the New York Times has an article pointing out how gambling in the Catskills region in New York is doing poorly, partly as a result of competition from all those new slots in Pennsylvania. And yet a leading analyst of the gambling industry is quoted as saying 'The demand for gambling seems to be insatiable.' Well, insatiable sounds a bit too strong. Tomorrow's New York Times (ah, the magic of the web) reports that for the first time since legal casino gambling came to Atlantic City, revenues fell by 5.7% in 2006 [correction: 2007] at the resort's eleven casinos. But Pennsylvania took in significant revenue from its initial flurry of slots -- many more will come on-line soon in the Keystone State -- so other states are taking notice. Will they notice Atlantic City and the Catskills, too?
From yesterday's USA Today:
The USA had a record 767,418 slot machines and video poker games in operation on Jan. 1, up 6.4% from a year earlier, according to Casino City Press, an industry publication. The nation now has slots in 37 states — up from 31 in 2000 — and the equivalent of one machine for every 395 residents.
The trend will accelerate in the next few years. More than 100,000 new slot machines already have regulatory approval or could get it this year.
This related article in USA Today provides some information about a venerable Vice Squad topic, the workings of slot machines. In the course of reading the article, we learn that an icon of our youth, "I Love Lucy," (in re-runs, of course, we aren't that ancient) has now been co-opted to draw in electronic gamblers. Someone has some splainin' to do.