"Where Have All the Gamblers Gone"…and where are they going?

Is New England On It’s Way to Localized Gambling or Are We Seeing Signs of Over-saturation By 2020?

Numerous articles and commentaries point to different trends in New England gambling. The landscape of casinos in New England, influenced by the economy and new gaming possibilities, is experiencing a change in clientele. Here are examples of changing times for existing casinos:

1) Maine is experiencing a success with both casinos. Locals are supporting both. Good times continue for Oxford & Hollywood Casino, Raceway & Hotel.

2) The New England Gaming Behavior Survey revealed that gamblers from the Commonwealth made more than five million visits to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casino in 2012. At the same time, Connecticut’s casinos have continued to experience big declines in year-to-year slot revenues over the last year due in large part to Massachusetts residents who have significantly scaled back on the number of visits they make to casinos.

3) While neither Rhode Island slot parlor can compete with the Connecticut casinos’ range of gaming and non-gaming amenities, Twin River’s closer proximity to the population-rich centers of central and eastern Massachusetts, combined with aggressive advertising and marketing campaigns, has made Twin River a favored alternative for convenience gamblers, particularly as gasoline prices have remained high and the Connecticut casinos have tightened up on their player reward programs. The surge in Massachusetts residents visiting Twin River coincided with steep declines in visits to Foxwoods Resort casino and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, which have been forced to lay off thousands of employees as their profits have plummeted over the last five years.

4) A slot machine parlor in Worcester is now a distinct possibility as Massachusetts Gaming & Entertainment, LLC, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, designated the Heart of the Commonwealth as the preferred site for its application with the state’s Gaming Commission last week.

5) The report, titled “Bring It On Home, An Overview of Gaming Behavior in New England,” finds that residents in the five states surveyed – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island – are generally gambling less and spending their remaining gambling dollars closer to home. Seventeen percent of the respondents indicated they had visited Foxwoods in 2012, down from 22 percent in 2008, while 14 percent had visited Mohegan Sun, down from 19 percent four years earlier.

ENTER MASSACHUSETTS CASINOS: Like it or not, casino gambling is coming to Massachusetts. The UMass-Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis has been studying New England’s gaming behavior. Wherever that Western Massachusetts casino ends up, making that trip down to Connecticut may become unnecessary. The report also says, “If the trends in this study continue, the long term success of a casino in Western Massachusetts could depend on if other casinos are built in neighboring states. Any casino built in the Albany region, near Hartford, western New Hampshire or southern Vermont could have a dramatic impact on the success of one in Western Massachusetts.”

The only thing that can be considered certain in New England Casinos is……. well, uncertainty. There are some who insist this might be the beginning sign of over-saturation – too many casinos, not enough patrons to feed them all.

I would prefer to cheer the future of gaming in NE.  But to be honest, sometimes I wonder what the future holds…..

That’s all for now.