I am at that point in life when I find myself going to the doctor or hospital much more often. Aches and pains that used to be alleviated with a couple of aspirins and a day in bed now need better care and stronger medicine. Instead of hearing “ice it down and stay off your feet for a while,” I am now told, ominously, “I can replace a knee, I can even replace a hip; but I have nothing to replace a lower back.”
Every medical visit now involves a myriad of tests and procedures, and the analysis of various results so a strategy for my future wellbeing can be formulated. Of course, this health plan always comes with the same old bromides (eat less, drink less, less stress, more sleep, more exercise) and the knowledge that at some point I will have to return for another battery of tests and a new set of marching orders. After all, good health is no guarantee, and as I grow older I’ve come to realize I need to monitor and react to it in a much more timely fashion.
I suppose in an ideal world, I could have my health as closely observed as that of the gaming industry. Indeed, I am inundated daily with economic reports about every facet of the casino industry: I get weekly/monthly revenue reports from the various gaming jurisdictions; quarterly earnings reports from gaming operators and manufacturers; daily market reports from Wall Street stock analysts; and yearly industry-wide status reports from academics and industry trade groups. It’s information overload on a grand scale.
Then again, maybe I should be careful for what I wish for since—even with all these reports and studies—I still have a difficult time determining the true health of the gaming industry, especially when you take into account the different agendas of the various parties disseminating this information and the volatile nature of the business. For this reason, I tend to gravitate toward the yearly gaming recaps that provide solid, year-end numbers for analysis.
For years, my go to report was the American Gaming Association’s “State of the States,” which I was happy to see was revived last year after a two year hiatus. According to this report, America’s commercial casino industry enjoyed a record-setting year in 2015 with nationwide consumer spending on casino gaming reaching a total of $38.54 billion and surpassing the industry’s previous record annual haul of 2013. Industry-wide gross gaming revenues were also up 2.2 percent from 2014, when the annual revenue total dipped for first time since the Recession that began in 2008.
While revenues from Native American casinos are not included in the above totals, 2015 was also a record-setting year for Indian gaming. In 2015, tribal casinos operating in 28 states earned a total of $29.9 billion in gross gaming revenues.
The industry’s growth reflected macroeconomic factors, including increased consumer confidence and lower gas prices, as well as the impact of new casino openings in certain states, the report stated. Overall, 17 of the 24 states with commercial casinos saw improvements in gross gaming revenues relative to 2014. Leading the way were Maryland (+18.0 percent), Ohio (+12.8 percent) and Louisiana (+7.1 percent), as all three states benefited from a full-year of revenues from new casinos that opened during the course of 2014. Elsewhere, several major casino markets, including Nevada (+0.9 percent), New York (+2.8 percent) and Pennsylvania (+3.4 percent), saw their gaming industries return to growth in 2015 after witnessing declines in 2014.
The report also pointed out that positive results were not felt by all gaming markets across the nation—states like West Virginia (-4.9 percent), New Jersey (-6.5 percent), Indiana (-0.8 percent) and Delaware (-0.3 percent) have experienced multi-year slumps in gaming revenues.
So there you are, some good mixed with some bad. Maybe industry health reports aren’t all that different from personal ones.