Five-plus decades on this planet have taught me you could do worse than to live by the Gospel According to Yogi.
Whether all these kernels of wisdom came verbatim from the old Yankee catcher or not, who has dispensed more common sense on the existential plight of modern man than Lawrence Peter Berra? A tiny sampling includes “It’s not over until it’s over,” “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded,” and “It gets late early out there.” This last was about left field in the original Yankee Stadium, but, hey, I’m looking in the mirror.
With time, however, a personal favorite has emerged: “Ninety percent of this game is half mental.”
Oh yes it is.
Take the economy, which has bedeviled all of us for the past four years. What preceded the fall of 2008 was irrational exuberance on a mass scale. People thinking their homes were an inflatable piggy bank that would never pop. Incomes weren’t really going anywhere for most of us, but expectations ran wild. The aftermath was marked by almost a mirror-image of the reverse. Global financial Armageddon was next on the menu, only a matter of time, and the New Normal meant chicken broth for dinner for the rest of our lives. Or something like that.
Yoginomics says that any changes in the behavior, measurable or otherwise, are as good as any economic indicator. This holiday season, spending was up, and so was the mood of many operators in the slot business out there. This month’s Slot Forum asked about the outlook for 2012. You can read the responses on page 26; here are a few more:
•Scott Eldredge, general manager, Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino: “We are expecting double-digit percentage growth in gaming/slot revenue in 2012 for a few reasons: investing a significant sum to refresh over 25 percent of our floor at all three of our casinos; looking to add class II product to our Class III product; forecasting for significantly higher hotel occupancy which will create the traffic/critical mass we need to grow revenues. We are cautiously optimistic the economy is recovering; specifically in New Mexico with some large construction/government projects that will spur job growth.
•Paul Arsenault, slot operations project manager, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel: “I expect 2012 to be very interesting and profitable, and that, as the economy drags on, people have gotten used to the new normal and will spend more. That being said, I see the casino industry as a whole improving, and my casino improving also.”
•Daniel Fried, director of slot operations, Sunset Station: “I do expect improved results next year. The Strip gaming revenue is up and seems to be putting together a trend rather than a spike. That trend tends to lead to better results in the Las Vegas locals market as well. I’m looking forward to 2012.”
•John Dinius, director of slot operations, Sycuan Casino: “We have forecasted higher slot revenues for 2012 due to a multitude of factors. We recently completed a $27 million renovation of our existing property and have made significant changes to our player reinvestment model as well as to specific promotions to drive time-on-device and incremental visits. We have recently seen improved player head counts and have received great feedback from our guests on our positive changes. In addition, consumer confidence is beginning to gain momentum in our area and we hope it carries well into 2012 resulting in more liberal discretionary spending on entertainment.”
With that, and thanking everyone who made this year necessary, let’s go out and have a good one in 2012.