Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Slots-burgh musings

So I have to admit I am a bit confused about the news of groundbreaking at the site for the Majestic Star Casino. I thought the City Planning Commission's hearing was delayed until January 14th. You would think from all the rhetoric that someone would chain themselves to the backhoe or something. Back in the day....... but it is funny to compare the current news to this headline from almost a year ago: "Pittsburgh casino license winner tries to speed building process"

update: I didn't catch that Don Barden is also the focus of a story in the New York Times today: For Casino Owner, Winning a License Was Not a Matter of Luck

But on the future casino business here this is just a purely anecdotal observation... I had to stay a night in Erie, PA the other day and surprisingly found many of the hotels booked and the rates higher than I expected for the area. Talking with people up there they explained that the opening of the casino at Presque Isle Downs earlier this year is responsible for both a jump in occupancy rates and a big increase in rates. Adding to that, a local hotel manager I happened to speak with explained they were planning on demolishing one of the larger hotels up there to have it rebuilt several times bigger.

So good or bad... the casino is coming and we are going to be noticing some impacts... How big an impact? The Erie Times had a report last week that over one week (November 26- December 2) at the casino up there:

Gamblers wagered $29.7 mil
The amount returned to players:$27.2 million.
The gross revenue -- the amount of the gamblers' losses: $2.2 million.
Divided out that means $1.2 million went to the state and $1 million to the casino.

The $1mil is best described as a gross profit number since they must have expenses before getting to net... and I have no idea how representative that particular week is of the year..... but still, if only a part of it is 'tourist' generated, for Erie in a cold December? They have 2,000 slots machines up there... Majestic star is going to be something closer to 6,000 I think. You do the math.

So like it or not, there will be an impact here when the casino eventually opens..... assuming it ever gets built of course. I know he has a big incentive to get the construction started as soon as possible, but given the weather at hand, you have to wonder how much work can get done before the weather breaks in the spring. But there is a "construction progress" site it appears:, though it does not have much to say at the moment... although it does say they are looking to fill 1,050 full time jobs.


Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

It is a 'slots parlor' not a casino.

When they want to make it a real casino, to 'super-size it' with table games (or anything beyond the one-arm bandits) -- the public will be able to extract another wave of millions from them. But, we can't allow the mission creep to happen without the payment.

There are some 'property rights' clauses that seem to apply here. We have to 'protect our copyrights' -- right?

There was the recent case in Colorado where the judge awarded a neighbor 1/3 of the property for the access that had been uncontested over the past 18 years.

After a fence was built - after natural law or something - it was too late. Ownership transfered without payment simply because of continued use over time.

Thursday, December 13, 2007 7:32:00 AM  
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