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AGA: Casino revenues up

16 May 2008

WASHINGTON, DC –- (PRESS RELEASE) -– Revenue for the U.S. commercial casino industry has increased 73 percent over the past 10 years, according to a new report released today by the American Gaming Association (AGA). The 2008 State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment, the 10th edition of the AGA's survey of the commercial casino industry, reveals that gross gaming revenue reached $34.13 billion in 2007, up from $19.7 billion in 1998. During that time, gaming tax revenues contributed by commercial casinos to state and local governments has more than doubled, from $2.5 billion in 1998 to $5.79 billion in 2007.

"The casino entertainment industry has experienced high levels of growth and maturation in recent years," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA. "In looking at the last decade, it is evident that we are not only an economic force on a national level, but that we are major players in the local communities where we provide steady jobs and economic development."

The 10th edition of State of the States includes special charts examining 10-year trends, on both a national and state level, within the gaming industry. Data reveals that commercial casinos employed 360,633 people in 2007, an increase of more than 10 percent over the 325,432 jobs in 1998. Wages, including salary, tips and benefits, increased by more than 25 percent, from $10.9 billion in 2000 to $13.8 billion in 2007. Alongside national trends, the survey also reveals that each of the 11 states that had commercial casinos in 1998 has seen significant increases in its gross gaming revenue over the past 10 years.

The 2008 State of the States also takes a special look into the gaming industry's capital investment projects in communities across the United States. Upcoming projects in such places as St. Louis, Las Vegas and Atlantic City will inject billions of dollars into gaming jurisdictions in the form of jobs, tax revenue and wages. Notably, a great deal of this investment will come in the form of non-gaming amenities such as spas, fine dining and retail spaces.

"These projects mean not only immediate jobs in the field of construction, but long-term, good-paying jobs on the horizon," said Fahrenkopf.

According to the survey, the gaming industry in 2007 continued its steady growth consistent with previous survey results, as commercial casinos posted $34.13 billion in gross gaming revenue, a 5.3 percent increase over 2006. Iowa and Mississippi saw the most significant increase in gross gaming revenue, with increases of 16.2 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. Direct gaming tax contributions from the commercial casino industry also saw a jump in 2007, with state and local governments receiving $5.79 billion in tax revenue, up 11.3 percent from 2006.

The racetrack casino sector also saw great expansion in 2007, as revenues reached record levels with consumers spending $5.28 billion, a 45.6 percent increase. Racetrack casinos contributed $2.22 billion to the state and local governments where they operated, a 54.6 percent increase over 2006 figures. Both Pennsylvania and Florida experienced markedly increased numbers due to the opening of new properties, while New York saw higher numbers as 2007 was the first full year of operations for some properties there. Racinos employed 27,258 people in 2007, a 22.2 percent increase over 2006.

A full one quarter of the U.S. adult population visited casinos in 2007 and made more visits to casinos than in any previous year, with 54.5 million visitors making 376 million trips, or an average of 6.9 trips per visitor.

The 2008 State of the States survey once again includes a number of additional features examining poker, sports betting, non-gaming entertainment and public attitudes about responsible gaming. Poker remained a popular activity in 2007, with 13 percent of adults reporting they played the game in the last year, however this percentage was down from where it was two years ago, at the height of the "poker boom." In Nevada, the only commercial casino state that operates legal sports books, Americans wagered almost $2.6 billion on sports in 2007. Football accounted for almost half (45 percent) of the total amount wagered, with basketball and baseball coming in second and third, at 26 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Commercial casino visitors also are enjoying the diverse array of non-gaming entertainment options found at casinos. In fact, 72 percent of casino visitors reported eating at a fine dining restaurant, 48 percent saw live entertainment such as a show or concert, 42 percent visited the retail options and 42 percent also reported visiting a casino's bar or night club during their visit.

According to the annual poll of American adults conducted by Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research and Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. for State of the States, overall acceptability of the casino gaming remained high in 2007, with 84 percent of American adults viewing casino gambling as acceptable for themselves or others. Additionally, 86 percent believe that people in individual states and communities should be allowed to decide what is best for them with respect to casino gaming. Survey respondents also are responsible when they visit a casino, as an overwhelming majority (84 percent) of casino gamblers set a budget before they start gambling.

The 2008 State of the States survey includes additional information tools and resources such as a pocket guide to key national and state economic statistics and a glossary of gaming-related terms.

A full copy of the 2008 State of the States publication can be downloaded at Members of the media also can obtain a copy by contacting Brian Lehman at 202-552-2680.

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