You might be surprised at some of these contributions the gaming industry’s supplier segment makes to the economy

Who knew the gaming industry’s supplier segment made such a significant contribution to the economy? Not many apparently. At least not until this year when the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers commissioned a study of the impact of its members.

The findings of the Global Gaming Supplier Industry Impact Analysis 2008, prepared by Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, were revealed at a news conference during the Global Gaming Expo.

And they were eye-opening, not only to the journalists covering the event but also the members themselves. It’s kind of hard to believe that this was the first comprehensive review of the global gaming supplier industry, because their contributions deserve to be noted and given more respect. AGEM should be commended for undertaking the report.

The findings show the supplier side of the industry – counting direct and indirect impacts. - has a $33.2 billion total economic impact on the global economy and involves more than 78,000 employees. The report points out that’s nearly as much as the direct output of the $34.1 billion commercial casino industry in the United States.

Among the other findings were that the industry generates $11.9 in economic output, employs more than 28,000 workers (with a total impact of 78,600 jobs)  and pays $1.9 billion in wages.

The average wage within the industry is much higher than the national average. In fact, the $67,100 annual average wage is more than double the national average of $33,300.

The industry’s impact also can be felt in its $1 billion in income tax payments, not counting industry-specific levies. Over the next three years, domestic slot machine deliveries are projected to be more than 150,000 units.

Many more interesting details can be found in the full report at  and in AGEM Director Marcus Prater’s column in this issue. They are well worth perusing . 

Dead on arrival

A proposal to lower the minimum gambling age from 21 to 18 as a way to boost state gaming revenue during the recession didn’t go anywhere, and it’s probably a good thing.

It wouldn’t have done much for the industry’s image, serving only to create more controversy and increased scrutiny.

The suggestion was made in November during a gaming law conference sponsored by the State Bar of Nevada.

At the time, State Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander indicated he was neutral on the subject but would take the suggestion to Steven Horsford, the new Senate majority leader, and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley. The two top Democrats opposed it, and a spokesman for Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons also said the idea wouldn’t pass muster with the governor either.

The issue was raised by an attorney for a gaming manufacturer who was speaking for himself, not his employer. He said he thought the issue should at least be discussed as a way additional revenue could be generated, and to keep teachers employed and the state budget from being slashed any further.

He and others have pointed out that 18-year-olds can vote and serve in the military. In addition, they are allowed to gamble at most California casinos.

I understand his reasoning – and I share his concerns about the state’s budget woes and the plight of teachers who sometimes don’t even have enough copy paper to give their students assignments –  but this is not the answer.