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Atlantic City casinos comping less

26 August 2008

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey -- As reported by the Philadeliphia Inquirer: "For spending $100 or so on the slot machines, Gloria and David Hykes used to get a free room at Harrah's Resort casino.

"No more. The couple from York Haven, Pa., paid $99 for a room there last week, and they know why.

"...The casinos are comping less, and when they do, it is happening for the high-roller slots players and far-more-profitable table-game gamblers.

"The Atlantic City casinos spent $375 million in the three months ending June 30 for premium hotel rooms and other freebies. In the same period a year earlier, the casinos spent $422.2 million on comps.

"...For Atlantic City, defending the market had meant not losing low-end slots players to the casinos in Pennsylvania. Now, the casinos here are surrendering those players, and Pennsylvania is paying to get them.

"Promotional spending at Philadelphia Park, Harrah's Chester Casino, Mohegan Sun and Presque Isle - the only four Pennsylvania slots parlors opened from April-June 2007 to April-June 2008 - spiked 130.7 percent, from $10.5 million to $24.3 million year-over-year.

"The promotional credits were for free slots play only, said Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which regulates the state's gambling industry. He said there was no way to account for free buffets, free drinks and other freebies at the Pennsylvania casinos because they are not required to report those..."

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