Reporting Jon Keller
BOSTON (CBS) – Supporters say casinos and slots will create new jobs in Massachusetts.
Opponents say the social and economic costs will outweigh the benefits.
Nationwide, casinos are not doing well.
In part because of the weak economy, but also because if you look around the country, it seems the era of booming casino revenues may have come and gone.
Just last week, Mohegan Sun reported a five-percent drop in slot revenues over last year.
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Connecticut neighbor Foxwoods is down five-and-a-half percent, both feeling the heat from a huge slot parlor at New York’s Yonkers Raceway.
That pattern of competitive cannibalizing is being repeated around the country.
Indiana casino revenues are at a three-year low, and they’re bracing for a 30-percent drop when Ohio opens new casinos over the border.
Experts in Illinois warned of a casino revenue plunge when the state banned smoking, a ban that would apply to any new Massachusetts casinos.
Nevada’s been courting non-gambling revenues for years now, but while visitor traffic is up, casino revenues keep falling.
And nowhere is the gambling balloon more deflated than in Atlantic City, where gaming proceeds have declined for 35 consecutive months.
Experts there predict the year will end with revenues off a staggering 40-percent from their 2006 peak.
And even if an economic recovery leaves gamblers with more disposable income, they won’t necessarily be spending it at casinos.
Among the fastest growing forms of betting these days are online wagering and smart phone gambling.