It’s no secret that there’s a lot of competition in the casino the business. And I’m not talking about online casinos, though competition definitely exists. I’m referring exclusively to land-based casinos.
And today, it’s not just one casino in a city competing with another down the street. The 2014 competition landscape pits casinos in one city against casinos on the other side of the world.
The world is much smaller today, thanks to fast air travel and comfortable accommodations that make flying 10,000 miles no big deal.
But that smaller world means that a once-attractive casino has to compete against others in another part of the world. Case in point? The Crown Perth Casino in Australia. Just a few years ago, the land-based casino property spent big money flying in whales from other corners of the globe. Not actual whales (that’d be insane). That’s the term used to describe the world’s biggest high rollers.
In 2010, high rollers from China gambled about $12 billion at Australia’s Crown Perth Casino. A mere one year later, that figure headed south to just over $8.2 billion.
The reason for the downturn was simple. Whales no longer had to fly to Australia to be treated like high-rolling celebrities. With high-end casinos in Singapore attracting Chinese gamblers with incredible offers and first class treatment, there was no reason to head down under.
But there could be a change on the horizon once more. The Aussie government has decided to give Crown Perth a tax break. The savings would give the casino spending power to provide the whales with a reduce take, and it would give the casino more ammo to spend money to lure those big spenders back to Oz.
This is a really smart idea that I think should be embraced elsewhere. On this side of the world, Atlantic City is struggling as it competes with casinos in neighboring states. The government makes money off casino gambling in taxes and licensing fees. If the state wants to see Atlantic City make a comeback, perhaps a tax cut is a really smart move. Casinos could use the funds to attract whales, enhance their properties, and even pay their employees more.
If this scheme works, expect for other casinos to ask for the same. Whether they actually get anything out of the government is a completely different story — and one that we hope we’ll be able to tell.