Though conventional wisdom gives the house the edge in most gambling ventures, this may not be the best time to run a casino. Gambling revenues in Las Vegas are at their lowest since the 1940s; however the economic despair here is compounded by multiple factors, not the least of which being American internet casinos.
As almost everywhere, unemployment in Las Vegas is up, but in Vegas, unemployment has officially reached 14.7 which exceeds the national average throughout the worst layoffs of the recent recession. This is only slightly worse than the rest of the state’s current 14.4. To put this in some perspective, merely ten years ago, official unemployment was only 3.8. Much of this unemployment is directly related to the gambling industries whose revenues have been declining over the past three years. Between losses to discretionary income, investments, and pensions, the people are worried about their respective futures and feel less ease wagering their remaining assets.
Moreover, other industries in Nevada are taking serious hits. Construction is down. Foreclosures are not only up, but since 2006, Nevada has the dubious distinction of leading with the most foreclosures every month. A big issue for Las Vegas is the dual threat of increasingly available local casinos, as well as online gambling sites in the USA, both of which serve to keep players in their homes and out of the Las Vegas hotels.
While online casinos serve to threaten Las Vegas, American gambling laws, however, remain dubious. Representative Barney Frank’s online gambling bill, known also as H.R. 2267 and “The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act” and “the iGaming bills”, initially received a positive surge and bipartisan support and already passed in the House Financial Services Committee. Particularly enticing for Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation is the potential for $40 billion in new tax revenue over the next decade.
While Congress has adequate time to act, if not before they adjourn on Oct. 8, then during their post Thanksgiving extended “lame-duck” session, when they will handle many other bills including the appropation bills, this bill is jeopardized because it has been scheduled to hit the House floor before the midterm elections.