Tribal casinos feel the pinch

| Print |  Email
Archives - June 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
ATSMIllCasinoCustomers are spending less at The Mill Casino in Coos Bay.
Photo courtesy of The Mill Casino.
Revenue slightly decreased at some casinos last year and flatlined at others, according to Bob Whelan of ECONorthwest, which analyzes the revenue figures of the state’s nine tribal casinos for a study commissioned by the tribes.

Headcounts are up 12.5% even as customers decreased their spending by an average of $10 each at The Mill Casino in Coos Bay, says spokesman Ray Doering. He says revenue for the first quarter of 2009 is flat compared to the first quarter of 2008.

The Mill laid off 33 workers in October but has hired 12 of them back, and has 12 more positions open now. Doering says eliminating staff, cutting back hours and freezing raises for management cut enough costs to offset the loss in revenue due to reduced customer spending. Promotions such as early-bird specials in the restaurant and temporary reduced prices at the hotel have drawn new customers from outside struggling Coos County, where unemployment is 13.7%.

Jeff Dense, an economics professor at Eastern Oregon University who researches gaming, says consumers taking vacations closer to home, along with a smoking ban in bars with video lottery machines, has helped prop up business at tribal casinos. People drive 50 miles to get to a casino instead of walking down the street to a bar? “If they could smoke, they’d travel,” Dense says.

He says lotteries are usually more recession-proof than casinos, but not this year. The state reports lottery revenues are down 9%.

Headcounts and revenues were steady at Spirit Mountain Casino in Grande Ronde in the first quarter of this year, says CEO Rodney Ferguson, but he says customers now spend more on non-gaming activities than gaming. Kah-Nee-Ta, Wildhorse and Chinook Winds casinos say their revenue is flat over last year. The Old Camp, Three Rivers, and Kla-Mo-Ya casinos did not respond to inquiries.

Local economies may have an impact on tribal casinos. Fifty-six jobs were cut in January at Seven Feathers Casino in Douglas County, where unemployment is 16.9%. Wayne Shammel, general counsel for the Cow Creek tribe, says revenue is down more than 15% from last year. He expects more traffic now that the casino hotel has added 155 rooms. But for now, customers are scarce. “There’s no such thing as milk, bread, eggs and a hand of blackjack,” he says.
ADRIANNE JEFFRIES
 

More Articles

Reader Input: Road Work

March 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.

0315 input01 620px

 

Reader comments:

"I feel private enterprises are capable of operating at a higher efficiency than state government."

"This has been used in Oregon since the mid-1800s. It is not a new financing method. This form of financing may help Oregon close its infrastructure deficit by leveraging funds."


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

Storyteller in Chief: Natural Prophets

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN

Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS