If you asked for a vacation day on Aug. 5 so you could be the first in line at the new casino, you may want to reschedule:
"The Rivers Casino is seeking to delay its opening by four days because of water damage to slot machines caused by last week's storms. In a statement this morning, casino officials said they had asked the state Gaming Control Board to push back the opening from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9. They said the request was a result of minor water damage to a small number of slot machines during the bad weather as well as damage to some slot machines during their transport to the North Shore venue."
... also from the pages of the P-G:
"As a Senate panel moved to resurrect a law banning casino officials from donating politically to legislators and other elected officials, a citizens watchdog group said such high-powered gaming interests gave $4.4 million to state politicians from 2001-08. Lawyers and lobbyists for the 14 casinos authorized by a 2004 state law contributed an additional $12.3 million, according to a report by Common Cause/Pennsylvania released yesterday."
"Pennsylvania could get an additional $165 million in annual gaming revenue if table games were in operation at all 12 of the state's larger casinos, an analyst hired by three casinos said today. The revenue would consist of $104 million generated by the table games themselves -- poker, blackjack, roulette and dice -- plus another $61 million in additional revenue from slots."
Around the state
Those slot machines at The Rivers were saturated because of the storm. Have Pennsylvania's casino revenues likewise reached their saturation point?
"State slots revenue continues to grow, but are the latest figures showing saturation? Or just the realities of heavier discounting in a weaker economy - a way to compete for scarcer discretionary spending? Overall gaming revenues were up 19 percent last week compared to a year ago, but only 5 percent when factoring out the newly opened, 3,000-machine Sands Bethlehem. And revenues per machine declined substantially over last year's figures. Wagers, which grew faster than revenues, jumped by 26 percent to $506 billion last week."
... "A Senate committee gave unanimous approval [Tuesday] to a major overhaul of Pennsylvania's 5-year-old slots casino law, and the full Senate might act as early as next week. The bill would reimpose a ban on casino officials contributing to the political campaigns of legislators and other state officials, a ban that was contained in the 2004 slots law but was recently struck down by the state Supreme Court."
... The new Sands casino is performing well.
... $41 million wagered at Presque Isle last week.
Dispatches from the border
Ohio's governor has a full-blown case of slots fever:
"Gov. Ted Strickland's plan to balance the budget with gambling money includes legalizing up to 15,250 slot machines at Ohio's seven horse racetracks, with most of the games plugged in by next May. The governor's office estimates the machines will rake in nearly $1 billion in 14 months -- from May 2010 to the end of the 2011 fiscal year. The plan would allow the state to collect 48 percent of that revenue for education spending while the other 52 percent would be split among the seven track owners and pay administrative and operational expenses, including payouts to lucky winners."