Dave started this tracking, I thought I would play with it a bit. The question that may impact nearly everything in town is how profitable the casino will be in the long run. The SEA is depending on payments from the casino, the city and county need the tax revenues.
The current issue is that revenues for the slots machines at the casino during the week of the G20 were abysmal, barely $132/machine per day Clearly that was anomalous due to the circumstances. The immediate question is whether revenues would rebound. The first datapoint is a) yes they did, but b) not by much. Gross terminal revenues per slots machine averaged $162 for the week following the G20. Up from $132 for sure, but still far far below the $351 once projected by the casino itself and $306 projected by the state. The poor efficiency of the machines is already responsible for a ratings downgrade of the casino's debt.
So here is just an experiment: a Casino Watch interactive graphic. I will try and make this an independent page at some point. But here is the trend thus far. I need to add to the labeling, the graph is measuring the average daily gross terminal revenues (think gross profit) per machine.
(this is working for me, but I am not sure it will work for others... Does not seem to like coming up the first call. Try 'refresh' if it is not coming up. Alternatively you could try this: http://www.briem.com/casinowatch.htm).
So even if you ignore the G20 week altogether, there is a trend there.
What's it all mean? Just some neurons making random associations among things that may or may not make sense to associate. First I wonder if the characteristics that made Pittsburgh a less than hospitable place to support anarchist protesters are also keeping locals from fully embracing a flashy new casino? Just a thought I will leave for the sociologists but maybe folks here might like gambling in its more traditional forms... the lottery, bingo, and whatever is going on at fundraisers (or the back room). It certainly is worth more consideration than the only answer given by the casino itself for the poor showing thus far... some nonsense about "(Pittsburghers) not liking to cross bridges".
But there is something else out there. Given that there is no real comparables for the casino property, it is likely going to be assessed for property tax purposes using metrics on the revenues and profitability of its best use... which would be the casino I imagine. It just seems to me that given that the assessment for the parcel has not been set, the casino folks have a very clear vested interest to keep their revenues down until that assessment has been fixed. Especially if the base year system were to set in place a valuation for a long time. Then take into account the debate the casino is having over the timing of its payments to the Sports and Exhibition Authority. Ditto.
So it all comes together: assessments, city and county budgets, the SEA, even the state budget now, plus arena funding and the mythos of the gephyrophobic sociology of Yinzers... Maybe the casino = 42?