|Think back to last General Assembly and the blazing issue of the day. Casinos or no casinos?
At the time, casino gaming was advertised to save jobs in the horse racing industry, add much needed dollars to local economies and provide good paying jobs in a slowing economy.
Opponents argued that casino gaming was wrong on moral grounds, that it would have a negative economic effect, sucking money from other businesses and creating social and medical costs for the state. In the end, Kentucky didn’t join casino gaming states.
Flash forward to November 2008. Nationally, the economy isn’t slowing. It’s stopped. October’s job report, released today, shows that one quarter million workers lost their jobs in the month of October. Added to September, that means 500,000 more workers are jobless than in August.
The casino industry has not escaped unscathed. Philly.com is reporting that Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City laid off 400 workers last week. This follows Harrah’s cutting hundreds of jobs in the Atlantic City area. Layoffs are happening across the industry as revenue slides downhill.
Total revenue from gaming is down 6% from last year in Atlantic City and revenues in Las Vegas’ gaming industry slipped over 6.7% from last year.
Casino gaming depends on disposable income, (except for those poor souls who are addicted). With Americans tightening their belts, staying home and away from fun spots, gaming centers will see their revenue continue to decrease throughout the winter, a traditionally slow time for the industry.
Had the Legislature put a constitutional amendment on the ballot last Tuesday. Only a professional gambler would have been able to handicap its chances had that happened.