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A study shows that racino is thriving

In the decade since racetracks added casino games, so-called racinoes have grown faster than commercial and American Indian casinos, according to a study.

The annual Casino Industry Report, published by the California Analysis Group, attributed the growth and lack of competitiveness in Lascino, which was relatively early in three of the six states that authorized casino gambling at racetracks last year.

While much more was paid for Indian and Las Vegas-style casinos, from 1994 to 2003, rasino revenues increased by nearly 52%, outpacing other forms of casino gambling.

Last year overall, $2.3 billion was gambling in La Cino, up 8 percent from 2002. Revenue from commercial casinos exceeded $26 billion last year, rising only over 1 percent.

"Commercial games are much more mature, more prevalent, and have a lot more numbers," said Doug Reed, director of the race track industry program at the University of Arizona, adding, "It's going to be difficult for them to grow at the same rate as racino."

Rhode Island pioneered the first Lachino in 1993, followed by West Virginia in 1994. Iowa, Delaware, New Mexico, and Louisiana also legalized Lachino gambling last year.

Laws to expand gambling on Kentucky racetracks have been rejected by the General Assembly over the past three years, and Churchill Downs of Louisville is eyeing Louisiana as the first place for alternative gambling. The racetrack operator is expected to bid for the Fair Ground Racecourse in New Orleans at a bankruptcy auction next month.

Louisiana posted the highest one-year growth of any Lasino state last year, with imports of Lasino rising more than 47% to nearly $169 million last year.

The research also highlights the strength of the $4.2 billion American Indian casino industry in California. Churchill Downs, which owns a Hollywood park near Los Angeles, and other racetrack operators want to jump into the casino market by bringing the issue to the state's electorate in November.

If approved, the state will require tribes to pay 25% of their wage income to state funds or open the door to increased competition.

If tribes do not comply, California will allow the addition of 30,000 slot machines to five tracks and 11 other locations, including Hollywood Park.

Churchill Downs is also working with a developer to obtain Pennsylvania's final thoroughbred license for the proposed Pittsburgh track, and will be an investor in any company that operates alternative gambling. Governor Ed Rendell signed the slot bill into law this month.
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Saturday, February 3, 2024

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