Iowa casino regulators took a strong stand in favor of the status quo, after playing it so cool they had expansion advocates fooled. Following the guidance of their own studies, they shot down the Cedar Crossing Casino project, citing its adverse economic impact on other casinos in the area. Dissenting commissioner Dolores Mertz called for a “market-driven” casino industry in the Hawkeye State: “As a farmer, if I really believe that in agriculture, I’d be really remiss not to do that in gaming.” If they’re going to go to Nevada-style survival-of-the-fittest mode, they’ll need to go to a new process and set of criteria for approving casinos. As it is, the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission is charged with preserving the financial health of the industry and Cedar Crossing didn’t pass that test.
“Beyond dismayed.” That’s how Penn National Gaming expressed its reaction to the denial of its Argosy Sioux City supplication. Penn was appealing Continued >>
Well that’s torn it. MGM Resorts International has gone from being a shoo-in for a Massachusetts casino license to asking the state to delay its decision. That means Massachusetts is short some $200 million (including an $85 million licensing fee). Why? Because MGM wisely doesn’t want to pay for a license of which it could be stripped in a referendum. Right now, it’s in the hands of the state Supreme Judicial Court, which will decide whether a casino-repeal measure goes onto the ballot. And if it does, the uncertainty extends into November.
That means no construction work in Springfield and no mitigation payments to the city and its neighbors. The do-gooder brigade has really scored an own-goal on Springfield with its holier-than-thou crusade. If they win, Springfield can kiss $800 million worth of MGM investment goodbye. The company is being Continued >>
Reports of Las Vegas‘ rebirth have been greatly exaggerated … or so the Brookings Institute‘s Mountain Monitor tells us. True, job growth was second only to Phoenix‘s, at almost 1% and double the regional average. Most of that growth, however, seems to have been in low-productivity jobs (casino industry to the white courtesy phone, please). “Putting those together, you get a view of a region focused on relatively less productive jobs. You have decent job growth, but it’s not yielding the kinds of output gains that growth is yielding in other places,” report author Mark Muro told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
He added that, while higher employment is Job One, economic diversification is ultimately necessary to improve the region’s sluggish economic recovery. We still lead major U.S. cities in Continued >>