Decline in gambling revenues

The American Gaming Association, a trade association representing the interests of US land gambling operators, has confirmed news reports of tough times for the industry by releasing annual statistics showing a decline in gambling revenues of $ 1.6 billion to $ 32.5 billion in full year 2008.

Associated Press reports that a study by the industry group shows U.S. commercial casino revenues fell 4.7 percent over the year - the first yearly decline since 1999, when the AGA started tracking revenue using individual states' data.

In FY 2007 casinos reported the highest revenue increases ever at 5.3 percent.

The largest declines among the 12 states that have commercial casinos were in Colorado and Illinois, and are attributed to statewide smoking bans.

Revenue jumped 48.3 percent to $1.6 billion in Pennsylvania, which added a racetrack casino which observers say has taken gamblers from neighbouring New Jersey.

The American Gaming Association's 2008 "State of the States" report includes the information that casino employment was down one tenth of 1 percent to 357 314, and tax revenues totalled $5.7 billion, down 100 million on the previous year. There are 1 606 casinos and card parlours.

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