Rise in north-east US casinos as Atlantic City struggles

By Brad Allen
There has been a proliferation of casinos in the north-east United States as profits fall in former gambling strongholds, according to a study by the University of Nevada Centre for Gaming Research.

A total of 26 new casinos have been built in the north-east since 2004, fuelling a 39% increase in gambling revenue, to $11.7bn in 2013, slightly more than Nevada.

However states that welcomed casinos before their neighbours, such as New Jersey and Delaware, are seeing their profit drain away.

In 2001, fuelled by Atlantic City, New Jersey accounted for 63% of the gaming revenue of the entire north-east, a market share worth more than $4.3bn.

Thirteen years later the figure has fallen to $2.8bn, underlining the well documented decline of Atlantic City – one which has seen state officials clamouring for the legalisation of sports betting.

One of the big winners has been the state of Pennsylvania. As late as 2005 the Keystone State earned zero dollars from gaming, but last year Pennsylvania's 11 casinos tallied nearly $1.5bn in tax revenues, more than Nevada and the highest in the US according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).

Despite a recent report by the Fitch Ratings agency which stated the north-eastern market was "reaching saturation point", four new casinos may soon be licensed in upstate New York, while MGM is slated to open a new $800m supercasino resort in Massachusetts.

AGA president Geoff Freeman called for a change to the current legislative pressures: “Given increased regional competition and the unparalleled regulatory burden the gaming industry faces - casinos in one state pay six times more in taxes than any other business operating there - it should surprise no-one that many casinos are struggling to compete," he said.

"Simply put, the tax and torture model is unsustainable."

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