On Monday I addressed Vancouver City Council during the third night of public hearings held to consider Paragon Gambling Corp’s massive megacasino proposed for downtown Vancouver. My presentation challenged some of the core economic assumptions the proponents have used in trying to sell their project to the city.
Councillor Deal asked for additional information in relation to my observation that approximately half of the casinos in the United States are in bankruptcy or receivership.
In response to the good councillor’s request, I spent a few hours perusing respected news journals, financial reports and court bankruptcy documents. It is only partial and not meant to be comprehensive – I don’t have a city staff of 1000 to do my research – but it’s certainly representative. My brief research was limited to the past twelve months. There wasn’t time to include casino bankruptcies in 2009, a year that saw many others.
The result is a compilation of 50 major destination casinos across America that are in bankruptcy or receivership awash in billions of dollars of debt.
Unemployment in Las Vegas reached 15% last October and remains well above 13% today. And future prospects for the industry are worse, according to the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, who reported on February 8 that “he expects more casino bankruptcies in the stagnant economy.”