became less willing to risk their money, according to a report released today
by the national gambling industry’s trade association.
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The study by the American Gaming Association found revenue nationwide was down
4.7 percent in 2008, to $32.5 billion. The year before, revenue had increased
by 5.3 percent.
The nation has more than 1,600 casinos, slot parlors and other gambling halls.
The number of casino jobs fell 1 percent, to more than 357,000.
The gambling halls paid $5.7 billion in taxes to state and local governments
last year. That’s down slightly from $5.8 billion the year before.
One-quarter of the adult
population visited a casino in 2008.
The survey examined casino gambling in the
found, for example, that Americans spent twice as much on cable television
($79.1 billion) as they did on casino gambling, and only slightly more on
gambling than they did on candy ($28 billion).
largest revenue declines, due in part to smoking bans that took effect last
meanwhile, saw its revenue soar by more than 48 percent last year, due to the
continued growth of its racetrack slot parlors.
Racetrack casinos in
and other states continue to be a growth area for the gambling industry, with
revenue increasing 17.2 percent, to nearly $6.2 billion. There are now 44
“racinos” in 12 states, with more on the way soon.
The racetrack slots parlors employed more
than 29,000 people last year, a 6.6-percent increase.
created the most new racino jobs last year, up 1,412, to more than 16,000
racetrack slots added nearly 1,200 jobs last year, bringing the statewide total
to nearly 5,000.
The survey counted nearly 11,500 legal slot machines in non-casino locations,
such as bars or restaurants, in six states.
It also found that a poker boom that began in 2003 appears to be waning. Poker
first time since 2002.
Non-gambling amenities continue to be important to the casino industry. The
survey found 77 percent of casino patrons ate at a fine-dining restaurant, and
more than half saw a concert or other live entertainment while they were there.
That kind of extra offering is what
combat with slots parlors that, at least for now, offer little more than a
“Not only do we have a more diversified gaming experience, but the
hospitality, dining, nightlife, retail, spa and headline entertainment
experiences attract customers from the entire East Coast, as opposed to only
those customers in our backyard,” said Joe Corbo, president of the Casino
Association of New Jersey.