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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Casino claims slot revenue highest in U.S.

19 June 2012

Resorts World New York, the 8-month-old video lottery machine casino attached to the Aqueduct Race Track in New York City, says the rest of the gaming industry has been left in its dust.

In a nationally released statement Monday, operators of the casino, which has roughly 5,000 video lottery terminals and electronic table games, proclaimed Resorts World as the nation's "single-largest gross slot machine revenue and tax-generating gaming property in the U.S.," surpassing Pennsylvania, Atlantic City, Connecticut, and the Strip.

"Resorts World's model has maximized gaming revenue for New York state in a manner that has not been replicated by any other facility in the nation," Michael Speller, President of Resorts World New York, which is owned by Malaysia-based Genting Group, said in a statement.

Not so fast.

If any market is known for outrageous comments, it's Las Vegas.

New York, you're cutting in on our action.

According to Resorts World New York, the casino generated $57.5 million in gaming revenues in May.

Resorts World said roughly $40 million of the revenues were distributed by the state to New York's public education system, the state's horse racing industry and other government entities.

However, comparing numbers from New York and Las Vegas is not as simple as lining up the figures side-by-side.

New York's racetrack casinos pay all their gaming revenues to the state's lottery commission, which returns 32.86 percent of the winnings back to the casinos. The remaining 67.14 percent is distributed throughout the state.

Nevada takes a flat 6.75 percent gaming tax on gaming revenues - roughly one-tenth of New York's gaming tax rate - which goes directly into the state's general fund.

So what were Strip's numbers from April, the last month of reported gaming revenues?

The Strip's 41 casinos collected $248.9 million in gaming revenues from slot machines during the month, more than four times what were produced at Resorts World New York. When revenues from table games are factored into the equation, the Strip collected $459.4 million from gamblers, eight times the revenues from Resorts World.

Based on a 6.75 percent tax rate, Strip casinos contributed roughly $31 million in gaming taxes during the month. In total, however, Nevada collected $48.6 million in gaming taxes during the May collection period, a nearly 14 percent increase from a year ago.

Resorts World New York spokesman Stefan Friedman said the casino distributed the press releases nationally on PR Newswire Monday because competition and talk of gaming expansion in the Empire State have been "heating up" in recent months.

He said Resorts World was not trying to compare itself to the entire Strip. But on a casino-to-casino basis, "no other property is producing the amount of slot machine revenues that we're producing."

Genting was the company behind the push earlier this year to approve casinos in Florida. The company spent $500 million to assemble 30 acres along Miami's Biscayne Bay for a $3.8 bill ion hotel, gaming and entertainment complex. Plans for the casino fell apart when Florida lawmakers pulled a casino expansion bill from consideration.

Genting has since said scaled back plans for the site and would develop a much smaller nongaming project on the land.