t addresses ongoing changes in development, operations, consumer behavior, markets, politics, technology and other aspects concerning the casino industry worldwide. Eight of the 21 trends, as identified by Spectrum’s global staff of experts in numerous disciplines, concern the unprecedented economic downturn in which casinos are now operating.
With economic experts predicting that meaningful recovery will not begin until at least 2010, gaming operators and their stakeholders are faced with difficult conditions and decisions. New Jersey-based Spectrum tracks these and other trends in its award-winning newsletter, Gaming Industry Observer.
Following are the Top 21 Trends in Gaming for 2009: Advancements in technology that impact revenues and cut costs will continue to be attractive to operators even in an economic downturn, continued conversion of racetracks to racinos, as well as non-gaming expansions to existing racinos, continued elimination of jobs, both through cuts and attrition.
Besides, there is a continued moratorium on development of big-box gaming resorts due to economic downturn, convenience-based gaming continues to achieve better year-over-year results than destination-based gaming and corporate and property debt restructuring in wake of declining revenues.
Other trends are the following: Eastern Europe countries will increase their efforts to meet EU regulations, including smoking ban, gaming companies increase efforts to export their brands globally, gaming equipment manufacturers continue to invest in games that appeal to a younger demographic, including lotteries, bingo and server-based technology.
Increased legislative acceptance of allowing the deduction of issued electronic promotional gaming credits from the gross revenue tax/fee calculation. There is also an increased use of electronic games, including the emergence of scalable electronic table games in which players at different locations on the floor wager on a single outcome.
An increasing alliance is being held between commercial gaming operators and outside investors, as well as between commercial and tribal operators, according to Spectrum Gaming Group, which also considers that internet gambling in US will be a hot federal issue for the new administration and Congress, and gaming companies will fund lobbying efforts on both sides.
Major gaming operators commence deleveraging by selling off properties to emerging operators, more pronounced shift in market share among suppliers as operators attempt to shift away from IGT participation games and Native American tribal gaming revenue estimates remain on track to surpass US commercial gaming totals.
Besides, prices for hotel rooms, shows and food and beverage will return to lower levels at large gaming resorts as operators need to fill their properties. Slow but continual advancement toward server-based gaming, as operators remain skeptical as to the potential financial returns on investment.
Finally, the report says that states consider expanding or legalizing casino-style gaming to help fill state budget gaps, support from China to ease visa restrictions, increasing flow of visitors into Macau and there will be uncertainty in various European countries concerning regulation, thus increasing cases being referred to the European Court of Justice.