The Unites States is still reeling under the pressure of a slowdown, they say. The casino industry seems to be telling us a different story altogether. Last year, the US casino industry and industries that depend on them generated $125 billion, according to a report published earlier this month by the American Gaming Association. Casino revenues in 2010 equalled 1% of the nation’s total gross domestic product.
“There is no doubt the commercial casino industry is a significant and vital part of our nation’s economy,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr (president and CEO of the American Gaming Association). “The industry generates and supports economic activity that stretches far beyond the communities that host casinos,” he added.
The American Gaming Association study also revealed that the $125 billion in spending was generated by 566 casinos across 22 states. The industry was also responsible for nearly 820,000 jobs in the US last year.
Of the total $125 billion in spending generated, direct consumer casino spending accounted for $50 billion as well as approximately 350,000 jobs. The remaining 470,000 jobs and $76 billion in revenues were accounted for by indirect spending. About a third of the spending was generated by non-gambling sources, such as food sales, entertainment and hotels.
The casino industry employs people in various ways. For instance, people are employed for conducting table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and red dog. Others employed are gambling cashiers, machine technicians, managers, etc. Some people are employed to keep a tab on cheating and unruly behaviour. The casino industry also generates support jobs in the local hotel industry, employing people in food and beverage preparation, housekeeping, building and maintenance, sales and marketing, etc. There are people who work in industries that manufacture equipment for the casino industry.
Apart from creating employment in the country and of course contributing to the GDP, casinos and related industries also added $25 billion to the US government’s coffers via taxes. Direct spending generated taxes of almost $16 billion, the rest being contributed by indirect activity. This actually took the industry’s effective tax rate to 32%, which is more than the total tax burden economy-wide (which stood at 27%).
With these advantages to reap, shouldn’t the Indian government poise itself for economic growth and a surge in tourism by encouraging the casino industry?
For Years India has lost gaming revenue to casinos in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Mauritius and more recently to newly opened mega casinos in Macau and Singapore. The Macau and Singapore gaming industry has overtaken Las Vegas as the biggest casino revenue generator in the US.