Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Revenue from Maryland 's casinos

Not that I am a fan of casino-driven "revitalization,", but recent media coverage ("Maryland casino revenue declines for second month," Baltimore Sun) of a fall off in monthly revenues from Maryland's casinos is too quick to draw big conclusions for my taste, not that there is a long time frame from which to evaluate results.

It's foolish to expect that revenues will increase month after month for a few reasons:
  • there is a saturation point/ceiling on revenues because only certain segments of the in-resident and visitor consumer markets are interested in consuming gambling as part of their entertainment expenditures
  • rather than expecting a continuous rise in revenues, there are monthly and seasonal fluctuations as a cursory examination of historical data from Nevada demonstrates
  • as more casinos open in Maryland, customers will shift their preferences, in part based on proximity and transportation convenience, which will impact individual casinos--most will drop in sales with the addition of new casinos, as has been the case since the Horseshoe Casino opened in Baltimore
  • the addition of casinos in neighboring states will reduce the impact of non-resident visitation as a significant share of revenues for Maryland casinos, excepting those locations set up to focus on visitor segments.  
The forthcoming MGM Casino at National Harbor will further shake up the Mid-Atlantic gaming landscape, and likely will lead to revenue reductions at casinos in Baltimore and Anne Arundel County, as Metropolitan Washington customers are likely to shift their patronage to the new and closer casino located in Prince George's County.

The MGM may help National Harbor attract more convention and hotel business, but most people and conventions are still likely to end up in Las Vegas if they want the full gaming experience.  

Las Vegas is a "gaming district" while the other places are merely single site casinos with a limited array of entertainment options which for the most part can't compare to any one Las Vegas casino, let alone the full array.


The challenge for local jurisdictions is to figure out how they can benefit maximally from the presence of casinos, by developing and implementing a specific economic benefits plan and program, focused on making direct connections rather than being satisfied with trickle down benefits.

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