Casino Nation

There is an interesting article Forbes about the expansion of casino gaming:

California is not the only state where gambling is on the ballot in November (indeed California alone has two initiatives), and it is not the only place where racetracks want to salvage their flagging business, which is based on one kind of gambling, by instituting a second kind of gambling. New York and Pennsylvania will install slots at tracks, and Florida is actively considering the idea. There is a gambling initiative in Nebraska, which would legalize casinos. There, Schwarzenegger’s good buddy Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, a Democrat from Omaha, is joining in the opposition, which, according to the Lincoln Journal Star is being outspent by about 20 to 1.

All told gambling is the second-most popular topic for political referendums this year, according to the Initiative & Referendum Institute at The University of Southern California. Six states are deciding 13 measures. (The one more popular initiative topic is gay marriage.)

It’s nothing new. At this point, 46 states have some form of legalized gambling, according to [NOTE: It’s actually 48] There are 35 states with some form of legalized electronic gaming device, mostly slot machines, at Indian casinos, commercial casinos, racetrack casinos, bars, restaurants or other licensed establishments, according to the American Gaming Association, a lobbying group. The AGA says legalized gambling is a $73 billion industry as measured by gross gambling revenue (the amount wagered minus the winnings returned to gamblers, as of 2003.)

In vaguely related news, Colony is going to re-brand Harrah’s Tunica as Resorts Tunica, playing off what is apparently its flagship property, Resorts in Atlantic City. When I saw that Colony had renamed the Las Vegas Hilton’s player card the “Resorts International card,” I speculated that, if Colony still owns the property in a few years when their use of the Hilton name expires, would rename that casino Resorts International. It would, in a way, returning to its original name, the International.

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