Over the last year, the legalization of sports betting has dominated the news across the casino and gambling industries. This major milestone is on-track to transform the way casinos do business and the way states regulate gambling. While many are gearing up for big changes that will continue to unfold over the coming months, there have been plenty of other developments in the casino industry that might not have caught your attention. In this post, we will look at some of the major stories that have been overlooked and what they could mean as we look forward to another year in the gaming world.
Is the Casino Industry Too Saturated?
We have been covering a lot of new casino openings in the US and around the world, but could the construction boom be hitting a ceiling? Atlantic City is continuing to enjoy a resurgence and investors are betting that the boom will continue. Locations in New York State and the southwest are also expanding existing casinos and breaking new ground, but there are some signs in Mississippi that the market may have reached a point of saturation.
On November 28th, Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced that it would be closing the Tunica Roadhouse Casino. The company may have overestimated the demand for gambling in the local market. Tunica is already home to seven other casinos, including the Caesars Horseshoe Tunica location. The drive to build and compete might have clouded the company’s judgement when it came to understanding the limitations of the local market. Ultimately, the casino is the smallest in the area and 150 workers will be affected. Considering the size of other locations, this is a relatively small blow, but it could be an early indication that casinos may want to focus on the success of existing locations and not get too far ahead of the game with new construction.
Philadelphia on Schedule for 2020 Opening of New Casino
While certain areas have reached market saturation, other cities are going full-steam ahead with projects. The Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia is a $700 million casino and hotel project that is underway in the city’s stadium district where the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and Flyers all play. Over the past decade, Philadelphia has seen other major casino projects fall apart at the last minute. Even this project has seen its share of roadblocks, but with demolition and construction permits in hand, it looks like this casino will become a reality. The location means that the casino has the potential to be a part of a truly unique entertainment destination that could bring big revenue to the city and the state.
Virginia Makes Bid to Open First Full-Scale Casino
As gambling continues to expand in states where it is already legal, more states are looking to capture their own portion of the pie. Most recently, Virginia lawmakers are expected to share more details about their plan to introduce a bill to the legislature that would open the door to building a $150 million casino resort and hotel in Bristol. While the plan is still in the early stages, initial estimates expect that the casino would add 2,000 jobs in the first year and make an economic impact of $1.9 billion for the entire state.
Historically, Virginia has staunchly rejected the legalization of gambling in the state, but recent developments may turn the tide. The legalization of sports gambling and the opportunity for big revenue has softened resistance from some opponents. Perhaps more importantly, the federal government recently ruled that the Pamunkey Tribe could open a casino in the state. Virginia won’t be able to collect any tax revenue from this new casino, so they are looking for ways to enter the market and get their own share of profits.
While the bill has yet to be introduced to the legislation, it looks current events have created the most favorable environment so far for those looking to legalize gambling in Virginia. Developers have already chosen the abandoned Bristol Mall as the new site. Many local residents would love to see something done with this vacant building. If everything goes according to plan, new gambling laws would go into affect in July of 2019 and construction would begin immediately.
Wynn Resorts Tries to Win over Everett, MA
In 2011, Massachusetts passed the Expanded Gaming Act, which allowed for up to three commercial casinos to open in the state. MGM Springfield opened in 2018 and Encore Boston Harbor, a Wynn Resorts project, is schedule to open in June of 2019. (The final license may not be issued for some time while the state waits to see if a third casino would create too much competition.) In recent months, the casino has come under fire and faced accusations of federal racketeering that implicate mob involvement in the project. Wynn resorts has denied any illegal activity and characterizes the accusations as retribution from a competitor who was unsuccessful in securing the gambling license.
While it remains to see if anything comes of the pending lawsuit, Wynn Resorts has been faced with a public relations problem. In an effort to connect with community and demonstrate a commitment to make a positive impact, the company announced that it would donate $10 million over the next four years to local social programs. A committee will be established to help choose which programs receive funding. This gesture may help ease any negative affect recent lawsuits have had on the reception of the impending casino.
As more states legalize gambling and casino construction continues to ramp up around the country, increased competition will require casinos to operate smarter and more efficiently then ever before. This means being proactive about catering to the evolving needs of a new generation of customers and implementing the latest management software, like Casino Schedule Ease, to provide a superior customer experience. These operational factors will play a larger role in the success of casinos as consumers have more and more options when it comes to gambling. If market saturation becomes a more widespread problem over the next decade, only the best run casinos will survive.