States mull casino legalization even as revenue in a downward spiral nationwide.
More and more states are pondering gambling legalization, even in the country’s socially conservative heartland. A legislator in Nebraska recently proposed amending the state constitution to permit casino gambling to compliment its existing keno, horseracing and lottery services.
American gambling laws permit states to create their own regulations, and many budget-squeezed states are considering easing restrictions in order to bring in more tax revenue.
Casinos feeling squeeze
Ironically, just as more states are looking to get into the casino game, casino revenues are on the decline nationwide. Atlantic City’s revenue has fallen for seven consecutive years and even Vegas casinos lost more than $1 billion last year.
Some, including Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, blame the phenomenon on online gambling. While licensed internet gambling in America is confined to New Jersey, Delaware and in a more restricted form, Nevada, these voices argue that it cannibalizes revenue and jobs from brick-and-mortar establishments.
Representatives from Caesar’s Entertainment, which own both online and land-based casinos, counter that the two markets are complimentary, not competitive. They blame other factors for the decline. Regardless of who, how or why, it doesn’t look good for land-based casinos in America. States should be advised not to count on them as a future source of employment or revenue.