Imagine the Las Vegas Strip without Macau gaming profits propping it up in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, for instance. The buildings would still be there; whether they’d still be owned by the same companies is quite another question.
If you’re an American gaming company looking at the future, you have to think the home country is good for some more surprises ahead. The U.S. casino industry has made a wonderful living off of older Americans for decades now, and no small part of that has been the security offered by government programs such as Social Security and Medicare, not to mention defined-benefit pensions which are rapidly disappearing. Amid all the conjecture surrounding the whiplash-like transition from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, one bit of news didn’t receive the full attention it deserved: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the federal deficit will add $10 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years, mostly due to an aging population and a resulting strain on the above mentioned entitlements. How President Trump squares that with his campaign promises to find $1 trillion for new infrastructure, grow defense spending, cut taxes and not lay a finger on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be interesting to watch. How older Americans respond to the possibility—or as seems likely the reality—of their retirement goalposts being moved will be another story.