Racetrack Gaming: $2.1 Billion in Revenue Last Year

Racetrack casinos in five states generated $2.1 billion in revenue and $577.9 million for state and local governments, according to the American Gaming Association's "State of the States" survey of casino entertainment.

The revenue figures for each of the five states vary according to how they were reported. A sixth state, Louisiana, is on the list, but Delta Downs, its first racetrack with a slot-machine parlor, didn't begin operations until February of this year. It employs about 700 people, the study says.

(Delta Downs in Louisiana generated more than $32 million in gross revenue from Feb. 13 to April 30 of this year, according to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.)

In alphabetical order, the five states are Delaware ($526.6 million in revenue), Iowa ($307.4 million in revenue), New Mexico ($87.9 million in net revenue), Rhode Island ($771 million in gross revenue), and West Virginia ($433.8 million in net revenue for fiscal year 2001).

Delaware, which has three racetracks with electronic gaming, and West Virginia, with four tracks, led the way in revenue to state and local government with payments of $185.6 million and $166.8 million, respectively, for 2001. Delaware, Iowa, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and West Virginia racetrack casinos employ more than 7,000 people, according to the AGA study.

In three of the states--Iowa, Rhode Island, and West Virginia--Greyhound tracks offer video lottery terminals or slot machines. Of the five states, only Rhode Island has no horse racing. (Lincoln Greyhound Park, a Providence-area track with VLTs, is the former Lincoln Downs, which offered Thoroughbred racing through 1976.)

The study says that nationwide, 433 commercial casinos (land-based, riverboat, dockside, or racetrack) operated in 11 states last year. Gross gaming revenue was up 5% to $25.7 billion. In addition, there were American Indian casinos in 23 states, according to 1999 figures, the study says.

The leader in gross casino revenue was Nevada with $6.8 billion, followed by New Jersey with $4.3 billion, and Illinois, Indiana, and Louisiana each with $1.8 billion.

Of the five "forms of gambling participated in," lotteries were the leader in 2001 with a 48% share. Casinos were next with 28%, followed by sports betting at 20%, horse and dog racing at 8%, and Internet wagering at 3%. The percentages would indicate some overlap.

A poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and The Luntz Research Companies looks at the lifestyles of the overall United States population and those who choose to gamble. In looking at the poll results, the AGA study says: "Casino customers are everyday Americans. Like the average citizen of this country, the majority of individuals who choose to gamble file their taxes on time, donate money to charities, like to exercise, and eat dinner at home with their families."

Under the category of casino visitation, Americans made about 303 million trips to casinos in 2001, or about the same number of trips made to amusement parks, the study says. Movie theaters led the way with 1.49 billion visits, followed by rounds of golf at 586 million.

"The results also give us insight into how American attitudes change over time," AGA president Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said in a letter that introduces the study. "In the case of casino gambling, there has been remarkable consistency year to year in Americans' responses to questions involving their participation in gambling activities, as well as their views of the industry's acceptability, economic benefits, and entertainment value."

According to Peter D. Hart Research Associates and Luntz Research Companies, 901 adult Americans were interviewed from Jan. 17-22 of this year. Another 441-person "oversample" of casino patrons was taken.