LAS VEGAS - The commercial casino industry in 1998 paid more than $2.5 billion in direct gaming tax revenues and employed more than 325,000 people with total wages of $8.7 billion, playing a key role in the economies of the 10 states where casinos were located, according to the American Gaming Association’s first annual survey of casino industry facts and public perceptions.
State regulators reported that tax revenue generated by casinos helped preserve historic buildings in Colorado; fund housing, infrastructure improvements, youth counseling programs, transportation, and health care services in Mississippi; finance education and public safety programs in Missouri; and support senior citizens, the disabled and economic revitalization programs in New Jersey.
The casino industry work force also brought other less tangible social benefits to its communities. Nationwide, these employees contribute more than $58 million to charitable organizations annually and donate 884,000 hours of volunteer time every month. In the four states that track minority employment (Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri and New Jersey), 45 percent of the work force is made up of minorities. In the three states that track female employment (Louisiana, Missouri and New Jersey), the total work force of 75,289 employees includes 31,539 women. The disabled make up nearly 10 percent of the work force in New Jersey.
Citizens recognize these contributions to their communities, according to findings reported in the survey from a nationwide poll conducted by Peter Hart and Frank Luntz. A majority of those polled believe that casinos are a good way to generate revenue without raising taxes (67 percent); can be an important part of a community’s entertainment and tourism options (73 percent); are fun (82 percent); and bring money into a community without hurting existing businesses (59 percent). Most people agree that the industry also has an important role in curbing compulsive gambling (83 percent) or underage gambling (90 percent).
“Ever since the AGA opened its doors in 1995, we’ve been charged with an important mission: to provide the facts about an industry that for far too many years has been plagued by myths, stereotypes and misinformation,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA). “Every year, through this survey, we will be able to provide government officials, the media and the general public with up-to-date facts about our business.”
Modeled after the longtime Harrah’s surveys, State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment contains easy-to-use graphs and charts highlighting key facts about the casino industry. Information in the survey includes casino locations; the total number of casino industry jobs; casino tax revenue by state; consumer spending on casino gaming; state snapshots of employment, revenue, tax contributions and other statistics; a profile of the average casino customer; and trends in casino visitation.
Information in the survey was based on polling data from Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc./The Luntz Research Companies and Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc./NFO Research. It also was gathered from third-party sources, including state gaming regulatory agencies; state gaming associations; the National Indian Gaming Association; and gaming industry consulting firms Christiansen Capital Advisors, The Evans Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Arthur Andersen assisted in the compilation and analysis of state statistics.
The AGA represents the commercial casino entertainment industry by addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues. The association also serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.