Nevada‘s casino industry is still in the Great Recession, if profits and losses are anything by which to go. Posting their fifth consecutive year of losses, they were $1.35 billion in the red, on $24 billion in revenues. No surprise, slots and tables produced a two-to-0ne mix of revenues. The losses themselves may be explicable by the Strip’s drift away from gambling as a revenue generator, down to 37% of the total. Downtown’s $18 million loss was chicken feed compared to the $1.4 billion in red ink on the Strip. The big winner was Laughlin, whose profits shot up 289%. Profits in “rest of Clark County” were down 100% but still $120 million. Reno also had a 100% revenue decline but eked out the tiniest of profits (less than $1 million). Lake Tahoe was not so fortunate, as casinos there lost $90 million.
Scarcely had Penn National Gaming and Cordish Gaming decided to bury their differences and work together when their party was crashed. Who else could it be but ubiquitous Caesars Entertainment? The company has written a check for $1 million (refundable) and gotten into the hunt. Caesars has identified a 120-acre site next to the Metro-North Railroad station in Harriman, near the Penn-Cordish site, putting it within 50 miles of Manhattan. It must be chagrining not just for relative newcomers like Penn and Cordish, but especially for all the resort owners who have been pining for a casino for years, only to be carpetbagged on the day before applications were due. They’ll be doubly chagrined since the ostensible aim of casino expansion was to help the upstate economy, and here’s Caesars sitting athwart one of the main routes to New York City, poised to suck all the oxygen out of the room.
Although would-be Albany casino developer David Flaum seemingly ought to be chagrined, it’s a coup for him: Continued >>
Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen (below) must be the optimistic politician alive. She’s not only OK with Saratoga Raceway & Casino taking its expansion plans elsewhere, she actually gave it her blessing, boasting of her city’s “thriving downtown, successful city center, two horse race tracks and a wealth of natural beauty and cultural assets.”
What Saratoga Raceway owners propose to do is build an offsite casino in East Greenbush, a town that voted favorably in last November’s casino referendum. This would give Saratoga Raceway a satellite facility in the Albany area, just across the Hudson River. To this end, Saratoga investors have bought 72 acres in East Greenbush — chosen from among 15 sites — and are prepared to invest $300 million in a casino. They’ve optioned another 380 acres for a spa and golf course. Praising his “spectacular” new view of Albany, lead investor James Featherstonhaugh said “Our decision there is final: We’re going to bid from East Greenbush … I’m really excited about the location and what we can do there.”
East Greenbush officials are on record as supporting “reasonable” casino development, although what is reasonable Continued >>