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Gambling revenues climb 3% nationwide

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Commercial casinos' gaming revenues were up 3 percent in 2011, the second consecutive year they've increased, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Gaming Association.

The association's "State of the States," its annual survey of casino entertainment, shows gross gaming revenues last year totaled $35.6 billion. Revenues had increased by nearly 1 percent in 2010.

"These positive 2011 economic figures are welcome news to our industry, our employees, and the communities where we operate," Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., the AGA's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "While the recovery is ongoing and the commercial casino industry is not monolithic, the data paint an optimistic picture."

No commercial casinos operate in Connecticut, which is home to two Indian casinos, the Mashantucket Pequots' Foxwoods Resort Casino, which includes MGM Grand at Foxwoods, and the Mohegan Tribe's Mohegan Sun. Both have experienced revenue declines in recent years.

In March, an annual survey of the Indian gaming industry found that gaming revenues at tribal casinos climbed more than 1 percent in 2010 - the most recent year for which data were available - after declining for the first time in 2009.

Commercial casinos in the Northeast states that have them reported mixed results for 2011.

Pennsylvania, which benefited from the first full year of table games at 10 casinos and the first full year of operations at SugarHouse, a Philadelphia casino, experienced a 21.3 percent increase in gaming revenues. In New York, October's opening of Resorts World at the Aqueduct racetrack in New York helped boost gaming revenues at the state's nine racetrack casinos by 15.6 percent.

At Rhode Island's two racetrack casinos - Twin River in Lincoln and Newport Grand in Newport - combined gaming revenues were up 7.5 percent.

On the downside, gaming revenues at New Jersey's 11 casinos in Atlantic City fell 7 percent, the steepest decline in any of the 22 states with commercial casinos. Maine's one slots parlor experienced a 3.6 percent drop in gaming revenue.

The AGA also reported that in 2011, the commercial casino industry directly employed more than 339,000 people who earned $12.9 billion in wages, tips and benefits. Commercial casinos contributed $7.93 billion in tax revenues to gaming communities across the country - 4.5 percent more than in 2010.


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