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Penny Slots Play on the Rise During the Recession

19 April, 2009,  Milton Shaw, Staff writer

The conventional wisdom has long been that casinos, along with comfort foods like alcohol and chocolate are recession proof.  In fact, they have often been used as means to stimulate areas that have been in the economic doldrums with good effect.

Not so this time round it seems.  With the credit crisis and associated recessionary pressures taking full effect through 2008 and early 2009, terrestrial casinos are struggling.  This is a new phenomenon that has analysts scratching their heads. 

Handles in Vegas are down notably.  Trump's casinos have filed for bankruptcy, and even casino wonderkind Steve Wynn has had to beat a hasty retreat from his Macau casino empire plans amid plummeting revenues.  But there is one area where the casinos are enjoying increased activity...the penny slot.

One cent slot machines are booming and becoming a major component of casino offerings.  In Missouri in 2008, penny slots comprised over 50% of total casino revenue in 2008, while in Illinois, revenue from penny slots rose 12% amid sliding revenues in other sectors.

The clear inference to be drawn is that players still like going to the casinos, but see the penny slot as a more affordable way to spend their time there rather than the blackjack table or a high denomination slot machine.

It would be interesting to see if this is also the case with online casinos.


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