A Turn of Luck for the Gaming Industry?

Business and consulting firm Rubin Brown issued a release last week asserting the American gaming industry has seen a slight boost of late. However, note toward the end of the statement that Indiana gaming saw a slight downturn in 2010. Hopefully, 2011 will be a different story:

The nation’s gaming industry stabilized in 2010 with a slight increase in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of 0.34 percent over 2009. This was the first time the industry has seen an increase in revenue since 2007 reports RubinBrown, one of the Midwest’s largest accounting and business consulting firms.  Commercial  and Tribal Gaming Stats 2011, available at http://www.rubinbrown.com, pools 2010 data from 448 commercial land-based and riverboat casinos in 14 states with legalized gambling. Data was compiled from state gaming regulatory authorities and the American Gaming Association.

From a regional perspective, the Midwest held steady again in 2010, with the five Midwest states referenced in the report comprising 25 percent of 2010 AGR of the 14 states with commercial gaming. Gaming in the Midwest experienced a $21 million decline in revenues during 2010, which is much improved compared to the $74 million decline in 2009. Missouri and Colorado were the only two Midwest states to see a boost in gaming revenue, with 3.35 and 3.4 percent increases respectively. Other states to see an increase in revenue include Pennsylvania, which led the nation in revenue growth with a drastic 26 percent increase; Nevada, which, although the state only saw a slight increase of 0.12 percent, is faring better than the double digit decrease it saw in 2009; and South Dakota, which experienced a moderate increase of 3.92 percent.

Missouri continues to lead the Midwest in casino revenue growth, bringing in over $1.7 billion in revenue and more than $450 million in commercial gaming tax revenue in 2010. Due to the opening of the River City Casino in St. Louis in early 2010, the St. Louis region increased its AGR by 7.52 percent to lead the market in Missouri, comprising nearly half of state-wide revenue. The Kansas City region followed behind with almost 40 percent and other communities in the state made up the remaining 10 percent. However, with the surrender of St. Louis’ President Casino license and the development of the Isle of Capri Casino in Cape Girardeau, which is expected to bring in over $67 million in new gambling revenues, these breakdowns may change in 2012.

Colorado, the only other state to see an increase in AGR, experienced an increase of $25 million during 2010 and generated more than $107 million in commercial gaming tax revenue. The passage of Amendment 50 by Colorado voters in 2009, which allowed the maximum bet at casinos to be raised from $5 to $100 and permitted properties to remain open 24 hours a day, can be attributed as one of the main causes for Colorado’s revenue increase in 2010.

The report credits the slight increase in overall gaming revenues to the continued economic recovery throughout the nation. Although operators have felt the impact of the Great Recession with reduced consumer spending, mergers, bankruptcies, strict lending requirements and stalled capital projects, the rebound for the gaming industry is starting to occur.

“Gaming continues to expand through changes in gaming legalization, updates in technology and expansion into new markets,” said Chelle Adams, partner-in-charge of RubinBrown’s Hospitality and Gaming Services Group. “One of the trends that we’re currently seeing and expecting to see more of in the next few years is an expansion of non-gaming amenities at casinos, such as entertainment venues, restaurants, spas and golf courses. These additions are being utilized to draw patrons to the casinos’ complete destination experience as several patrons are cutting back on traveling and vacations.”

Despite the growth in Missouri and Colorado, not all Midwest states experienced similar success in 2010. Indiana saw its gaming revenues decline again by a slight 1.27 percent and overall admissions decreased by 0.4 percent, a significant change from the 4 percent increase in 2009. Although AGR and admissions declined in 2010, 1.59 and 3.59 percent respectively, Iowa-based casinos saw patrons spending more per trip on average from the previous year.

And the Top Manufacturing City is …

No matter the math, Indiana still generally ranks as the most manufacturing intensive state in the nation. That means we have more manufacturing jobs based on our population/workforce. Wisconsin and North Carolina are typically in the same neighborhood.

Manufacturers News Inc. changed the scope recently and put out a top 50 list of most manufacturing jobs by city. Certainly population is a bigger factor here, but there are still some interesting numbers.

The top 10 (list below), lost more than 95,000 jobs between August 2008 and the end of 2010. Big movers included Detroit (falling from 29th to 45th) and Seattle (moving up to 34th from 46th). Five from California (L.A., San Diego, San Jose, Irvine and Santa Clara) made the top 50.

Top 10 Manufacturing Cities

  1. Houston: 228,226
  2. New York: 139,127
  3. Chicago: 108,692
  4. Los Angeles: 83,719
  5. St. Louis: 83,123
  6. Dallas: 81,626
  7. Cincinnati: 81,364
  8. Indianapolis: 79,566
  9. Phoenix: 77,322
  10. San Diego: 70,709

Getting Conventional: Cities Named Party Faves

The significance of political party conventions — in this writer’s opinion — is minimal. Sure, there are some subplots regarding up-and-comers and the speaking slots they receive, the length of the boost in the polls following the get-togethers, etc. In this age of instant news and act/react before all the facts are in, however, a drawn out orchestrated party for party faithful seems to have little long-term consequence.

Where the confabs take place, though, and the reactions of the locals is of some interest. And the 2012 sites have been narrowed down for the Dems after the GOP picked its rallying point earlier in the year.

The Democrats will choose between St. Louis, Charlotte, Minneapolis and Cleveland. The political factors at play: President Obama barely lost Missouri in 2008 and earned a narrow victory in North Carolina, while Ohio seems to always be a battleground and Minnesota has stayed "true blue" in most cases.

A Republican panel chose Tampa over Phoenix and Salt Lake City. That decision is expected to be ratified next month.

Let the mudslinging begin (as if it ever really stops)! 

Legislature Shooting in the Dark on This One

Do you want the factual or the emotional arguments against what has become an unfortunate Indiana General Assembly tradition in recent years — consideration of legislation to allow guns to be brought into the workplace? The Senate actually passed such a bill in 2009 (by a 42-8 vote) and it returns this morning in the Senate Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters Committee (in the form of SB 25).

Yes, individuals have a right to bear arms. But property owners certainly have the right — and obligation — to provide a safe workplace for their employees. The consequences are bad, often deadly, when guns and the workplace mix. Some of the facts that Chamber issue expert George Raymond will share in testimony:

  • October 2009 study by University of Pennsylvania researchers that shows people in possession of a firearm are almost 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than people who are not in possession of a firearm. It cites a number of reasons why possessors of guns are in more, not less, danger.
  • A previous case study in North Carolina found that the "risk of a worker being killed at work was substantially higher in workplaces where employer policy allowed workers to keep guns … relative to those where all weapons were prohibited."
  • Texas, known for its straight and not-so-straight shooters, became one of the most recent states to "just say no" in 2009, rejecting bills that would have allowed guns in college classrooms and in cars in company parking lots.

If emotion is more your flavor, how about:

  • Last week’s St. Louis manufacturing company shooting that resulted in four deaths and five people being wounded.
  • The 2008 Henderson, Kentucky tragedy in which a disciplined worker retrieved a pistol from his car and proceeded to kill five people before shooting himself.
  • Two Northern Indiana incidents within four months of each other (in Goshen and South Bend in 2001 and 2002, which resulted in seven deaths and others being wounded).

Really, guns in the workplace? The goal should be to help Indiana companies and their employees prosper, not unnecessarily put them in the line of fire.

Maybe Should’ve Sat This One Out

Like those in public school districts throughout the nation, Indiana’s superintendents and educators often find themselves being frugal, attempting to get the most out of their budgets. And it’s an effort that Hoosier taxpayers certainly appreciate.

So if you’re one of these folks and are looking for tips toward school budget success, here’s a little hint on what not to do from the Show Me state: You might start by not sending 16 educators to a conference in Los Angeles, thereby costing local taxpayers over $30,000 — especially when it’s well-known you have minimal funds and other local districts only sent one or zero people to said conference.

Worse yet, you might want to be ready to explain some things when a local TV reporter presses you about it. Check out this tough-to-watch educational PR disaster in St. Louis. It’s a piece I like to call, "So You’re Saying A Group of Teachers Attended the Conference."

Hat tip to Ragan’s PR Junkie.