Moody’s down on gaming
Negative rating comes with casinos on way
ALBANY Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded its outlook on the country’s gaming industry from stable to negative as New York prepares to establish full-scale casinos upstate.
According to a report by Moody’s last week, the industry was marked with a negative outlook due to recent declines in monthly gaming revenue outside Nevada.
“The fact regional gaming revenues excluding Nevada remained flat, despite further improvement in the economy and additional regional casinos throughout the U.S., is a strong indication that U.S. consumers will continue to limit their spending to items more essential than gaming,” Moody’s Vice President Keith Foley said in a statement.
The outlook comes as the Capital Region, Catskills and Southern Tier are vying for four casino licenses. Each region will get at least one casino, with one region getting two.
In all, 17 applications were submitted to the state Gaming Commission on Monday. Five sites in the Capital Region are being pitched for a casino project — Amsterdam, Cobleskill, East Greenbush, Rensselaer and Schenectady.
Moody’s estimates that gaming revenue will decrease at a rate of between 3 percent and 5 percent over the next year.
At the same time, Moody’s reports that gaming facilities in Las Vegas continue to perform “relatively well” with total revenue over the past year totaling $6.4 billion, which accounted for less than 20 percent of total gaming revenue in the country.
Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act to build seven casinos statewide, with four in upstate New York and three in New York City.
The expansion of gaming in the state is an effort by Cuomo to boost economic development and generate additional revenue, mostly toward property taxes and school aid, for upstate New York.
Save East Greenbush, a group of local residents against a casino in the town, is calling on Cuomo to respond to the Moody’s downgrade of the gaming industry.