by Kyle Swenson
Not that this should surprise anyone, but the opening of the Horseshoe Casino looks like it's actually taken a bite out of the slot business in neighboring states. Not a drastic amount of money, but still a couple million dollars, which kind of dresses down the industry's longtime contention that slots can generate their own dedicated business.
The Plain Dealer keeps the lens focused on Presque Isle Downs and Casino just up I-90 in Erie. According to figures released by the state, the casino is down on slot bets from last year.
Slots bets at Presque Isle for the week of May 14-20 totaled $37.9 million, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Slots players wagered nearly $44 million during the week of May 16-22 last year.
Bets for the week of May 21-27 of this year totaled almost $38.4 million. During the comparable week in 2011, the number was $43.4 million.
Again, not a huge amount of money, and who's to say those handfuls of coin don't represent the curious checking out a new option as opposed to an actual shift in business. But the fact that there has been a shift is noteworthy.
There are two minds when it comes to the expansion of the gaming industry: one group believes there's a finite amount of potential business; the other side says every time a casino opens, each new house of slots taps into a local demand that up till then had been unsatisfied. Obviously, the former warns about over-saturating a market.
Why is all this pertinent in Buckeye country? Well, when the casinos were originally approved on the ballot, there were only four options, which would draw from distinct markets. Now, with up to possibly seven racinos on the horizon, that could further chop up the finite amount of possible biz — if that possible biz is in fact finite. This is a scenario fleshed out in our story last year, "Musical Racetracks."