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Best of Ken Adams

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Quicktakes - The month's trends in a glance - May 2005

9 September 2005

The national economy may or may not be healthy and growing; consumers may or may not be spending more money each year. But, however one interprets national statistics and trends, gaming is clearly growing. Each year more Americans visit casinos and leave more money than the previous year.

Americans spent $28.9 billion last year in nontribal casinos across the United States, a 7 percent increase from 2003, according to an industry-funded study issued today. Spending at commercial casinos has increased steadily over the years and has more than doubled in the past decade, from $13.8 billion in 1994, according to the American Gaming Association's annual "State of the States" report… The study said some 54.1 million people -- about 26 percent of the American adult population -- visited casinos last year. Visitation rose about 1 percent from 2003. Americans also went to casinos more frequently, making 319 million trips last year compared with 310 million trips the previous year. The average number of trips per year rose to 5.9 from 5.8 in 2003 . Liz Benston, Las Vegas Sun, 5-4-05

The Las Vegas Strip leads the industry in revenues and presumably visitors. No surprise there. Chicago is third in gaming revenue, Detroit is sixth and who would have thought it, Reno is still in the top ten. With no new major metropolitan jurisdictions coming online next year, the order is not likely to change much, unless you can imagine a couple of new casinos in Biloxi that would move Biloxi past Detroit, or Tunica overtaking Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Reno is close enough to Biloxi that a good year might put Reno in seventh. However, Biloxi is going to have a couple of new casinos soon, the result of which will probably keep Reno in the same place. The only real threat of change might be Atlantic City. If slots in Pennsylvania have as much affect as Kevin DeSanctis of Penn Nation predicted, Atlantic City could drop a couple of notches, much like Reno has from the impact of Indian casinos in California. Don’t expect slots in Pennsylvania next year, however .

In its annual State of the States report released last week, the American Gaming Association for the first time ranked the nation's most significant commercial, tribal and racetrack-slots markets, based on 2004 gross gambling revenues. …The Las Vegas Strip topped the list at $5.3 billion. Next was No. 2 Atlantic City with $4.8 billion, followed by the bistate Chicago market with $2.3 billion, the giant tribal casinos of Connecticut with $1.6 billion, and No. 5 Tunica, Miss., at $1.2 billion. The rest of the list, identified by each region's largest market: 6. Detroit; $1.2 billion; 7. Biloxi, Miss.; $911.5 million; 8. Reno, Nev.; $903.5 million; 9. Lawrenceburg, Ind.; $885.9 million; 10. St. Louis; $848.4 million; 11. Shreveport, La.; $835.5 million; 15. New Orleans, La.; $608.8 million; 16. Laughlin, Nev.; $592.3 million; 17. Black Hawk, Colo.; $524.0 million; 18. Lake Charles, La.; $462.1 million; 19. Council Bluffs, Iowa; $418.2 million; 20. Charles Town, W.Va.; $360.2 million. Rick Alm, Kansas City Star, 5-10-05

Across the board, the numbers were good in the major jurisdictions for April. The average appears to be about an 8% increase in revenue over April of 2004. If you can draw any important conclusions from these results, please let me know what they are. My only guess is related to the previously cited reports. Americans like to gamble and when they have some extra money, they go to the nearest casino for a little fun and excitement.

Atlantic City's 12 casinos reported gaming revenue of $423.2 million, a 7.3 percent increase…For the first four months of 2005, casino revenue has increased…2.3 percent. Donald Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City, 5-11-05

Nevada casinos won $1.03 billion from gamblers during March …10.9 percent gain…Las Vegas Strip resorts accounted for a record $514.4 million…up 10.5 percent. Brendan Riley, Associated Press, Las Vegas Sun, 5-11-05

Iowa April gaming revenues rose 5.1% to $93.8 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 5-16-05

Missouri April casino revenues rose 8.1% to $130.3 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 5-16-05

Illinois April casino revenues rose 8.1% to $152 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 5-16-05

Casino revenues in Detroit fell 7.4 percent to $103.8 million last month from April 2004. Associated Press, Detroit Free Press, 5-16-05

Louisiana's state-licensed casinos took in $189.4 million from gamblers in April, an increase of just under $13 million from the previous April… Alan Sayre, Associated Press, 5-17-05

Indiana April casino win rose 5% to $212.1 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 5-30-05

Mississippi casino win fell 0.8% to $219.2 million. Gaming Industry Weekly Report, 5-30-05

Colorado casino win was up 8.5% to $62.2 million in April. Colorado Division of Gaming, 6-05

The United Kingdom has given the gaming industry some interesting days over the last couple of years as we anticipated the arrival of a gaming white paper, new and more liberal regulations and all of the exciting opportunities for gaming companies that would follow. Nothing has quite worked out the way it was expected. The white paper was published and it did say that it was time to revised gaming regulation and create an environment more in keeping with the 21 st century. American, British and other gaming companies welcomed the news and rushed in to buy up the opportunities as they saw them. As the regulatory debate developed, the question became just that: what was going to be an opportunity? Some saw the landscape strewn with slot machines and a casino on every high street; others saw football stadiums as the place for a casino, and many towns viewed their location as ideal, a way to revitalize the local economy.

Well, after much time has passed, we still don’t know what the opportunities are, but we are reasonably certain that there will not be casinos on every high street, nor slot machines littering the landscape. The jury, or should we say Parliament, is still out leaving some football stadiums and towns looking for other economic development possibilities.

Which bring us to the next story, Manchester United and the grandest stadium of them all. When the rush to Britain, started several American companies formed alliances with football franchises, but most gave up last year when it seemed obvious that there would be only one casino license in the entire country, including Scotland. However, that did not include Sheldon Adleson who reaffirmed his interest and made a deal with Manchester United, the biggest and most successful sports franchise in the world

Manchester United Plc is applying to build a new casino complex, including a five-star hotel, restaurants and a health club, near to its Old Trafford stadium, the group said on Tuesday. …its bid in partnership with hotel and gaming company Las Vegas Sands Corp…owns The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, and it is also developing casino hotel resort properties in Macau. Reuters, 5-10-05

Adelson is not the end of this story, nor even the main character. The owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plays that role. Before Adelson had time to file his agreement, Manchester United had a new owner, Malcolm Glazer. He bought it in pieces but eventually he had enough to buy the rest and own the team.

American billionaire Malcolm Glazer tightened his control over Manchester United on Friday, increasing his stake in the world's richest soccer club to nearly 75 percent…The stock exchange update was accompanied by a statement from Glazer's son Joel, who is expected to run the club with his brothers Edward and Bryan. "We are delighted to make this offer to acquire one of the pre-eminent football clubs in the world," Joel Glazer said. "We are long-term sports investors and avid Manchester United fans. Stephen Wade, Associated Press, Hartford Courant, 5-13-05

No one has connected Adelson and Glazer, but the NFL wants to closely examine the relationship between the two, implying a casino next to an English football stadium would contaminate American football. The NFL’s reaction was tame compared to the reaction of the fans of Manchester United. To those fans Glazer is as popular as George Bush is in Mecca during the Hajj. Fans in Manchester have threatened everything imaginable, and some appear to be forming a separate club.

A group of Manchester United supporters is to press ahead with the creation of a breakaway club, initially called "FC United". The fans, bitterly opposed to Malcolm Glazer's takeover of United, are planning to hold a public meeting in Manchester this week. One of the organizers says: "This will determine support, allow people to put forward their names for roles in the club, and provide an opportunity to discuss ideas which people may like to consider. "Following this initial meeting, a further meeting will be held in early June at which fans can elect candidates standing for roles in the club. "At this stage, all those not renewing season tickets at Old Trafford and who support FC United are asked to consider donating half the savings to a trust which will be set to facilitate the funding of the club." Stuart Brennan, Manchester Evening News, 5-16-05

The British Isles are not the only place one finds fans of English football, they are in fact found in nearly every country in the world. And it seems all of them resent the idea of the foreigner, the American, buying and of course destroying their team.

Malaysian Manchester United fans were mostly disappointed yesterday at the news of American tycoon Malcolm Glazer's takeover of Manchester United. Dr Chris Lee, a supporter since 1983 feared Glazer would milk the supporters of their money and leave when he had enough, and said the shareholders who sold out also sickened her. “I do not want the club I love to be a play thing for some American tycoon as it is degrading to the club, and what is more is that he is not even as 'loaded' as (Chelsea owner) Roman Abramovich,” she said, and added she felt powerless as the takeover looked inevitable. Lim Leong Leng, a fan of 15 years, feared the Devils might end up like Leeds United, who accumulated debts of over £90 mil and had to sell their best players while getting relegated. Malaysian Star, 5-14-05

Even Glazer’s elderly sisters were found by the Sidney (Australia) Herald Sun and encouraged to add fuel to the fire of discontent. The poor man is being portrayed around the world as a devil as much as Bush and Cheney are on Jihad Unspun.

The sisters of the American businessman who has bought Manchester United have warned supporters…Malcolm Glazer would "buy players, sell players, raise ticket prices, do whatever will make him money". David Jones, Sidney Herald Sun, 5-15-05

The story is probably not about failed American foreign policy and is likely about the passion that sports engender. Which is why sports stories always have a gaming component as the passionate fans can be relied upon to put money on the home team against those awful invaders from the next town. Manchester United is not the only international franchise. In a world connected by the Internet and cable television, every team has the potential to be international and to attract wagers from around the globe. More Americans may visit a casino each year, but across the world regardless of how many visit a casino, millions more will make a wager on the Internet, Americans included. When it is all said and done, the real story may just be a global community betting on the behavior of other members of the community.
Ken Adams

Ken Adams is the principal in the gaming consulting firm, Ken Adams and Associates. Formed in 1990, Ken Adams and Associates specializes in information, analysis, and strategic planning for Indian tribes, casino operations and gaming manufacturers.

Ken spent over 20 years in the hotel-casino industry, prior to founding Ken Adams and Associates. He held the positions of: Director of Casino Operations, Casino Manager, and Keno Department Manager. During this time, he developed numerous innovative marketing and customer development programs and systems for evaluating casino performance. Some of those programs, such as slot clubs and tournaments, have become industry standards.

Ken is also actively involved in gathering and disseminating information that is important to the gaming industry. He is editor and publisher of and the Adams' Report, a monthly newsletter specializing in identifying trends in casino gaming, regulation and manufacturing, the Adams Daily Report, an electronic newsletter that provides electronic links to the key gaming stories of the day, and the Adams Review, a special report distributed by Compton Dancer Consulting that provides editorial commentary on gaming trends.
Ken Adams
Ken Adams is the principal in the gaming consulting firm, Ken Adams and Associates. Formed in 1990, Ken Adams and Associates specializes in information, analysis, and strategic planning for Indian tribes, casino operations and gaming manufacturers.

Ken spent over 20 years in the hotel-casino industry, prior to founding Ken Adams and Associates. He held the positions of: Director of Casino Operations, Casino Manager, and Keno Department Manager. During this time, he developed numerous innovative marketing and customer development programs and systems for evaluating casino performance. Some of those programs, such as slot clubs and tournaments, have become industry standards.

Ken is also actively involved in gathering and disseminating information that is important to the gaming industry. He is editor and publisher of and the Adams' Report, a monthly newsletter specializing in identifying trends in casino gaming, regulation and manufacturing, the Adams Daily Report, an electronic newsletter that provides electronic links to the key gaming stories of the day, and the Adams Review, a special report distributed by Compton Dancer Consulting that provides editorial commentary on gaming trends.