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Gaming Guru

 

Casino Gambling Success Promotes Expansion

6 March 2002

In the past 10 years, without a lot of fanfare, casino gambling has expanded far beyond Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The addition of many modest casinos to the national landscape over the last decade has illustrated just how popular this particular form of entertainment has become. It began with a small, tribal casino here, and a riverboat there, but as of late has exploded into an all out casino boom. Forty-six states currently sanction some form of casino gaming, and many of those states have multiple casinos within them. (Hawaii, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont do not.) Michigan, for example, currently offers 20 casinos throughout the state, with the 21st and 22nd all but underway in New Buffalo Township and Battle Creek. Although Michigan is ahead of the national trend, other states have begun slowly expanding their casino operations through both tribal and riverboat casinos. A glance at states that allow casino gaming in one form or another reveals that the casino industry is constantly growing, particularly in the Midwest.

With the advent and implementation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, many Native American Tribes have been able to negotiate class III gaming compacts with their respective states. This essentially allows the tribes to operate full scale casinos. In the last decade, casino gaming has been recognized nationwide as a viable means of stimulating economy, lowering unemployment and providing substantial tax revenues to local and state governments, among other benefits. Tribal casinos in particular, have helped thousands of Native Americans improve their quality of life considerably, including improvements to schools, housing, jobs, and income. Although any form of gambling frequently meets with some strong opposition, people have seen the benefits of casino gaming throughout the country and its success continues to spur further expansion.

Along with tribal casinos, riverboat gambling has been a popular means of operating a casino. Illinois legalized gambling in 1990 and saw its first riverboat casino open the next year. The state currently has nine riverboat gaming establishments that employ 11,000 people and generate $512 million in tax revenues each year. In Illinois, however, riverboats can be permanently moored and need not leave the dock on scheduled cruises in order for patrons to gamble. In states where riverboat gambling is the only legal form of casino gambling, the ability to remain docked is an important factor. For starters, it allows patrons to come and go as they please. People do not have to wait for a scheduled cruise in order to gamble, and they don't have to wait for the boat to dock in order to leave. It is considerably more convenient for gamblers and operators alike. Illinois has recently been discussing ideas about a possible casino in the Rosemont area of Chicago, though recent disputes and lawsuits have not allowed these plans to come to fruition as of yet. It is noteworthy, however, that there is active debate regarding further expansion in the state.

Indiana currently houses 10 riverboat casinos employing 18,430 people and generating $453.5 million in tax revenues each year. The state legalized riverboat gambling in 1993 and saw its first casino open in 1995. However, in Indiana, riverboats must leave the dock and venture out on scheduled cruises in order for patrons to gamble. This creates less customer turn-over and lower overall revenues due to a limited number of gamblers that can be on the boat for an extended period of time. Presently, the Indiana Metropolitan Mayors Alliance is involved in an effort to allow Indiana

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com