Issue 201
July 19 - 25, 2004
Volume 4
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News

Racinos flourishing, study finds

Kerzner plans three U.K. resort casinos

Group pushing for Georgetown casino

Harrah's To Buy Caesars

Aspinalls bringing 500 jobs to Swansea

 

Show Time Phil Collins, successful British pop rocker, performs at the MGM Grand.

Column What Do You Want from the Casino Experience, and at what Price? By Alan Krigman

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Racinos flourishing, study finds
As reported by The Courier-Journal

In the decade since horse racing tracks added casino games, so-called racinos grew faster than commercial and American Indian casinos, a study has found.

The annual casino industry report, published by the Analysis Group in California, attributed the growth of racinos to their relative infancy and lack of competition in three of the six states that licensed casino gambling at racetracks last year.

While much more money was wagered at Indian and Las Vegas-style casinos, racino revenues rose nearly 52 percent from 1994 through 2003, outpacing other forms of casino gambling.

Overall, $2.3billion was gambled at racinos last year, up 8 percent from 2002. Revenues at commercial casinos exceeded $26billion last year, growing by just over 1 percent.

"Commercial gaming is much more mature, more widespread and has much bigger numbers," said Doug Reed, director of the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program, adding: "It's going to be hard for them to have the same rapid ramp-up" as racinos.

Rhode Island pioneered the first racino in 1993, followed by West Virginia in 1994. Iowa, Delaware, New Mexico and Louisiana also had legalized racino gambling last year.

Bills to expand gambling at Kentucky racetracks have died in the General Assembly the past three years, and Louisville's Churchill Downs Inc. is eyeing Louisiana as its first venue for alternative gambling. The racetrack operator is expected to bid for Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans at a bankruptcy auction next month.

With racino revenues up more than 47 percent to nearly $169million last year, Louisiana posted the highest one-year gain among the states with racinos last year.

The study also highlights the strength of the $4.2billion American Indian casino industry in California. Churchill Downs, which owns Hollywood Park near Los Angeles, and other racetrack operators want to break into the casino market by putting the issue before the state's voters in November.

If approved, the state would require tribes to pay 25 percent of wagering revenues to a state fund or open the door to increased competition.

If the tribes didn't comply, California would allow the addition of 30,000 slot machines at five tracks - including Hollywood Park - and 11 other sites.

Churchill Downs also is working with a developer to secure Pennsylvania's final thoroughbred license for a proposed Pittsburgh track and would become an investor in any company operating alternative gambling. Gov. Ed Rendell signed a slots bill into law this month.


Kerzner plans three U.K. resort casinos
As reported by The Global Gaming Business Weekly

Kerzner International last week was named the preferred developer of resort casinos in two key markets in the United Kingdom: the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow and Sportcity in East Manchester.

Over the course of the next several months, Kerzner will enter into negotiations of binding agree-ments for both of these projects. These developments are part of major regional regeneration projects supported by the respective council for each city. Each of these projects was the subject of a competitive bidding process with up to a dozen major U.S. and European gaming companies tendering pro-posals in each instance.

Meanwhile, Kerzner also announced last week it has entered into a binding agreement with affiliates of Anschutz Entertainment Group for the development and operation of a casino and hotel resort facility at the Millennium Dome in London.

These three proposed developments, which are subject to the passage of gaming legis-lation in the U.K., are all expected to meet the "Resort" or "Regional' Casino" criteria defined by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Parliamentary Joint Committee that recently reviewed the draft Gambling Bill.

The three developments are subject to certain conditions, including the passage of gam-ing reform legislation and the receipt of applicable regulatory, municipal, regional or other approvals. If all of the necessary conditions are satisfied by 2005, Kerzner expects these devel-opment projects to be completed during 2007.

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