Hotel Online Special Report

Gaming Expansion to New US Locales Is 
Limited By Economics / Jason Ader 
April 28, 1999 - The US Gambling Impact Study Commission's 5-4 vote today recommending a moratorium on the expansion of gaming activities in the US will have a very limited impact on the nation's gaming industry, according to Bear Stearns senior managing director Jason N. Ader. That's because US economic forces have slowed gaming expansion to negligible levels in recent years, Mr. Ader writes in the just-issued 1999 Bear Stearns Global Gaming Almanac available from the New York-based firm. In 1999 alone, gaming legislation has suffered major setbacks or been defeated in Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Kansas. A California measure in favor of gaming is tied up in the courts there.

"In these strong economic times, elected officials feel scant pressure to create new jobs and tax revenues through the introduction of gaming in their cities and states," Mr. Ader observes. "That's in great contrast with the late 1980s and early 1990s, when poor economic conditions helped gaming sail to approval at points across the nation," he adds.

Today, gaming faces not expansion, but rather more intense government scrutiny, Mr. Ader writes in his 1999 Global Gaming Almanac.

"Last year and this, state and local legislators and regulators have acted in a number of ways that clearly signal a desire to slow the pace of casino development, increase government returns from casinos through increased taxation and, in general, place constraints on the casino industry," Mr. Ader writes. "The most notable examples of this trend include a significant increase in gaming tax rates in Illinois and a moratorium on new gaming development in Iowa," he adds.

With the lack of new casino developments in North America, companies seeking to expand their gaming-related holdings will, through necessity, be forced either to look at non-traditional gaming opportunities, or to seek development opportunities abroad, according to Mr. Ader's 1999 Bear Stearns Global Gaming Almanac. Non-traditional gaming opportunities include management of Native American casinos, slot operations at pari-mutual facilities, and management of charity gaming operations in Canada. Opening more retail stores is also a popular decision.

Further, lottery ticket sales have slowed dramatically, Mr. Ader says. Fifteen states recorded lower lottery ticket sales last year than in 1996, according to a joint research report by Bear Stearns and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Overall ticket sales grew by only 0.4 percent last year, the smallest rise since states introduced lotteries three decades ago, the study says.

Copies of the 1999 Global Gaming Almanac are available by calling Bear Stearns at (212) 272-4320.

Bear, Stearns  Co. Inc.
Stephanie Stegich, 212/272-6659
Also See: Pathological Gambling Report Released / March 1999  

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