Wisconsin Casino Revenue Declines For 4th Year

Wisconsin Casino Revenue Declines For 4th YearOpponents of further casino expansion in Wisconsin have jumped upon the state’s latest gambling figures, which reveal a 5% decline in gaming revenue to $1.2 billion for 2011, compared to $1.335 billion in 2007. The latest figures from Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry represents four straight years of decline for Wisconsin’s casino industry.
Native American casinos have been operating in Wisconsin since 1998,and currently there are 11 Indian tribes running 24 casinos throughout the state. Nevertheless, despite the declining figures there are already a number of proposals underway to expand the state’s casino offerings, including in Kenosha, Beloit, Sheboygan and Shullsburg.
Standing in the way of further expansions, however, is protest coalition group ‘Enough Already WI,’ which continues to oppose the tribe’s projects and has even aired advertisements on statewide television. Explaining his concerns, Enough Already WI’s executive director Brian Nemoir, said that there were already high social costs being paid as a result of gambling in the state.
Enough Already WI’s concerns would seem to be backed up by statistics coming from the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling, which received 14,464 calls in 2012, up 7% from the year before and the state’s second-highest total ever. Commenting on the worrying figures, executive director Rose Gruber, explained:
“As far as problem gamblers go, I doubt they are gambling less. What we’ve seen with our helpline in the last few years — with the economy down — is them gambling more because there is a sense of desperation. We certainly know that when you increase accessibility, you increase the number of people who are gambling — and the number of problem gamblers.”
However, many casino operators have countered arguments by suggesting that the downturn in casino revenues is more a product of the USA’s economic woes, and that there is still plenty of potential for expansion across the state. As vice chair of the Menominee Indian Tribe, Lisa Waukau, explains: “I don’t think we’ve reached the saturation point.  The people in northeastern Wisconsin and the surrounding area like to gamble.”

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