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Kansas City Casinos Facing Difficulty Because of Financial Crisis

On January 31st, 2009, players are holding fast to their extra cash in the face of the financial crisis-putting Kansas City area casino facilities for their very first year of drop since they first opened back in 1994. In order to exceed the record 2007 revenues of $720.7 million, local casino facilities must win nearly $61 million from players this month-and that does not appear likely to happen. Last year's revenues, especially on November 2008 were at $58.5 million, up less than half a percent over the same period on 2007.

Since September 2008, monthly revenues at the area's four riverboat casinos have collectively average just $56.3 million. Troy Stremming, the vice president at Ameristar Kansas City Casino and Hotel said that it is going to be an extremely difficult time. Stremming said that the unemployment rate is at the highest levels that he has seen in his adult life. Stremming added that they are hopeful that the rest of 2009 will be better for the casino gaming industry. The ongoing financial crisis has hit the casino gaming industry-once considered to immune to recession-hard with job layoff and casino expansion cancellation announcements becoming a common thing.

The withdrawal of the proposed Hard Rock Hotel and Casino project at the Kansas Speedway in Wyandotte was only the latest casino project to be suspended as the US credit markets shut down. It was the 6th of seven proposed casino developments in Kansas to be cancelled. Even the Las Vegas Strip, which is considered to be the center of worldwide gaming, experienced 25.5% dropped-with related drops of 12.8% in passenger traffic to Las Vegas and 6.4% in hotel occupancy.

Deutsche Bank analyst Andrew Zarnett warned investors that the gaming industry is in more trouble than it has ever been before. Zarnett said that data nationwide shows not only that players are visiting casino facilities less frequently, but appears to be losing less cash per capita when they do visit. But the mood in Kansas is a little hopeful because of the recent decision by the state voters to repeal Missouri's $500 limit that cleared the way for high-stakes gaming in the state.


03/10/2009 19:43 PM
Ann Pettersson