Do you expect gaming machine revenues to improve in 2012?Larry Close, general manager, The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park, North Bend, Ore.:
We think it’s going to fairly similar to 2011 with some slight improvement. There’s a lot of uncertainty with the economy and the election coming up. People are still holding back on those discretionary dollars. We have added some new things to our slot mix; free play options and a new slot club will both be launched in January, and we have an iPad gaming room that will officially kick off this month as well. You just can’t sit back and do nothing. We’ll hopefully start off strong and see where it goes, but we’re probably looking at a ½ percent to 1 percent improvement in 2012.
Kirk Devitte, vice president of slot operations, Fifth Street Gaming, Las Vegas, Nev.:
Here in North Las Vegas we do expect to see some small growth in the 3 percent to 5 percent range for 2012. However this is not so much due to an improving economy. We cater to locals in this area and many were in the construction trade and worked in the service industry which greatly affected by the falling economy. We expect our increase to come from the installation of a new slot system slated for February at the Silver Nugget/Opera House. We will be installing Acres Advantage on a central server that will house those properties, the Lucky Club (which currently runs Advantage) and the future Downtown Grand (Lady Luck property) when its renovation is completed. By combining our marketing efforts and spending more targeted dollars as a group rather than individually we feel we will be better able to market our customers. We will then be able to offer system-issued Free Play at the Silver Nugget and Opera House to retain existing customers, attract new customers and increase their average spend.
Sina Hentunen, gaming manager, Casino Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland:
actually expect a slight improvement for gaming revenue results in 2012, about 2 percent growth compared with this year. Why? Studies show that people in Finland have more free time and I also believe, regardless of the global economy, Finland’s economy will be quite strong next year and there won’t more unemployed people in this country. I also believe that the casino in itself will be more favorably seen as a place to spend some time and money than before, because we have concentrated our services and our games to become more mainstream than before.
David Brents, general manager, Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Cabazon, Calif.:
We’re taking a very aggressive approach to 2012 and we’re pretty optimistic; we actually added 500 Class III products in the fourth quarter of this year, taking the number of machines on our floor up to 2,650. We experienced solid growth all through 2011 with growth accelerating in the fourth quarter. We responded to the initial downturn in the economy the wrong way; we were waiting in the bunker for the recession to be over so we cut back in our investments in the property and in the gaming product. In the last year or so, we’ve been renewing the property and shifting denominations to more penny product; we’ve gone from 200 penny machines in 2009 to about 1,100 today. We’ve probably been a little more thoughtful about how we’ve priced the games. Customers have been responding really well and we seem to be reclaiming part of the market.
Michael Burnett, director of slot operations, Riverwalk Casino Hotel, Vicksburg, Miss.:
I don’t see gaming revenues increasing more than 1 percent to 2 percent in our market. And that is only if the economy picks up a bit. The more realistic scenario is revenues will be flat for 2012 because of the severe lack of consumer confidence over the real estate markets and high unemployment. I believe there needs to be fundamental changes in the way the government is handling the economy before we will see significant increases in revenues.