Jacked around in Ohio; Wrong about Trump

At this point, we don’t know jack about Dan Gilbert‘s new “Jack” casino brand. In September, it appeared to be gaining traction with players. Then the bottom fell out. Jack horseshoeCleveland‘s $15 million take was a 14% fall while Jack Cincinnati stumbled 11%, grossing $14 million. The only Gilbert property where the rebranding has taken hold is ThistleDown Racino, up 4% to $10 million. Of course, unless informed otherwise one should always assume that the top dog in Ohio is Hard Rock Rocksino, grossing almost $19 million, a 7% gain for Hard Rock International. Statewide, gaming revenues were placid, flat with last year, in part due to a 9% decline in table wagering.

Hollywood Toledo ($15 million) was off 1.5% but Hollywood Columbus ($18 million) was up 2%. Paradoxically, slot/win/day was better in Toledo ($199) than in Columbus ($179). Manager Penn National Gaming‘s star performer continues to be Hollywood Austintown ($282/slot/day), while Hollywood Dayton was no slouch at $255/slot/day. The two racinos grossed $9 million and $8 million respectively. Miami Valley Gaming had an outstanding month, up 10% for $11.5 million and Eldorado ResortsScioto Downs rose 4% to $12 million. Not even a 4% gain was enough to lift Pinnacle Entertainment‘s Belterra Park out of last place, grossing $6 million.

* Today is Election Day (so get out and vote, pronto) and Global Market Advisors tried to predict the outcome of a Donald Trump victory, and we’d say GMA couldn’t hit the side of Trump in LVa barn with a shotgun. It heavily implied that Trump would get behind Sheldon Adelson‘s crusade to ban Internet gaming. Somebody’s not been paying attention. Private Citizen Trump has tried to get into the ‘Net-betting business and says it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry on which the U.S. is losing out — and he’s right. As for the other major area in which federal policy and gambling intersect, tribal gaming, the impact of a Trump presidency is hard to forecast. Trump was against it (vehemently) in New York State but jumped with both feet into the California market, one of his more successful casino endeavors. So, whether he’d continue the Obama administration’s tribal honeymoon or revert to the more restrictive policies of George W. Bush is anyone’s guess.

* Despite several positive economic indicators, JP Morgan analyst Joseph Greff rated Station Casinos‘ near term prospects no better than “OK.” This is in part due to some well-merited renovations at Palace Station that are pegged at $115 million. New Station family member, the Palms is projected to yield a $37 million return on investment next year, just under 12%. If Station can bolster locals play at the Palms, it will have made a very strategic acquisition indeed. As for its newly approved Reno mini-casino, Station has no timeline for the project, despite the very low cost it will entail.

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