*Blog postings do not necessarily reflect the views of Fantini Research

By Steve Norton

CEO, Norton Management

Foreign Workers Essential to Early Japan IR Operations

My comment:

I am confused about the comments Mr. Lawrence Ho made about needing to import 10 to 20 thousand workers if he wins one of the Japanese casino gaming concessions. This would be shocking for most jurisdictions in that they want to create jobs for the local population.

Where an interested developer would say “we will train dealers and slot technicians, and will only need to import casino supervisory personnel, casino management and financial executives, but all of the restaurant, hotel, engineering, and other employees would come from communities surrounding our project.”

But then I read that Japan is considering giving work permits to 345 thousand foreigners, because their own population is aging, and many companies need workers.

So then, Mr. Ho's comments sound reasonable, until he indicates that the bulk of the employees will eventually be Japanese. It seems that he is counting on the Japanese birth rate growing dramatically.

By Steve Norton

CEO, Norton Management

Hard Rock, Ocean Resort Still Have Work to Do

My comment:

Tony Marino is right on, a 17 percent increase in gaming revenue is not going to keep AC gaming solvent, with two new casino resorts adding about 30% more hotel and casino capacity. Tony has been involved in AC since the beginning some 40 years ago.

Rummy Pandit is usually too optimistic on the state of the industry, but he suggested that AC casinos have to be more like the Las Vegas Strip, where the hotel earns more than the casino. A point I have been trying to make for quite a few years, and my annual comparison of AC and the 24 largest Strip properties shows that AC casino resorts earn over 90 percent of their departmental earnings from the casino department, while on the Strip it is 34 percent.

By Steve Norton

CEO, Norton Management

Kansas Remains a Battleground State for Sports Betting Integrity Fees

My comment:

Whether states approve sports betting, with or without a fee to the appropriate league, the total cost, including federal and state taxes and promotional and operating costs needs to be reasonable. This is because the gaming industry is competing against bookies and illegal international sites that do not have to pay taxes and are available online.

Nevada sports books average a win on amounts bet of 4 to 6 percent, before the taxes and costs, so an integrity fee makes it more difficult to earn a profit. For those states without online betting, the casino or racetrack will benefit from food and beverage profits and may get some action on casino games or race bets.

By Steve Norton

CEO, Norton Management

Casinos Focus on Scale, Fresh Offerings in Competitive Environment

My comments:

Today's article is excellent on the importance of casino gaming to Indiana and gaming acquisitions by Caesars, Boyd and Penn National, indicate that the gaming industry believes the future here is bright.

But the effort to introduce casino gaming actually started several years earlier than stated, even before Iowa's riverboat legislation was introduced. The first Indiana effort actually started in 1988, when Bob Spolyar, a Lebanon attorney, contacted Resorts International's attorney asking for a casino executive who could address the benefits and downsides of introducing casino gaming to a community. I was chosen, having previously prepared the Impact Statement used in the 1976 New Jersey casino referendum campaign, and then working with the NJ Assembly Committee in drafting the Casino Control Act.

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