US Casino Spending Up
By Staff
Americans spent more money last year on gambling than on cinema tickets but the industry could be in for a rough ride in 2008 due to a slumping economy and delays in the construction of new casinos.

These were the findings of a new study released this week by the American Gaming Association, which reported that US commercial casino revenues rose 5.3 percent to $34.1 billion in 2007. The survey cited numbers from the Motion Picture Association of America showing that Americans spent $9.6 billion on movie tickets in 2007.

However, according to a piece in the Houston Chronicle, American casinos cut jobs by 2.3 percent last year with casinos in Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois leading the way. The newspaper stated that the industry did away with 8,500 jobs in 2007 and employed fewer than 361,000 workers last year compared with 369,000 in 2006.

'We’re facing some difficult economic times,' said Frank Fahrenkopf, President for the American Gaming Association.

'People said for years that we were recession-proof. I’ve been saying we’re not recession-proof but recession-resistant. There’s a lot of factors that go into it and I don’t think you can point at any one.”

Fahrenkopf stated that the study collected data from twelve state regulatory agencies on 467 commercial venues but did not attempt to track results at sites operated by American Indian tribes. He stated that tight credit markets, which have led some operators to cancel or delay new projects, would likely not affect the majority of the $53 billion in planned expansions over the next few years.

The survey revealed that revenues improved by a total of 46 percent at 41 racetrack casinos in eleven states to $5.3 billion last year while employment at these properties also rose 22 percent.

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