Casinos still seem to be popping up everywhere as seeminglydesperate states pass enabling laws, looking to stimulate economicexpansion in down-and-out areas or raise tax dollars—anything toovercome the effects of the lukewarm economy on revenue growth.

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But this week we have more evidence that casino bets are turninginto longer shots especially for older properties—it's become acommodity business already in oversupply with increasing numbers ofveteran operators in bankruptcy and shutting down unable to matchthe ersatz glitz of new competition.

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Atlantic City is the poster child—its boardwalk lineup of ageinggambling halls now in accelerated decline (four hotels recentlyclosed, and another shutting down soon with thousands of jobslost). Even with an East Coast casino monopoly, the south Jerseylocation offered only a warmed over version of a Las Vegasdiversion—attracting busloads of day players working the slots, notthe really profitable high roller crowd. For all the talk abouturban revival, the State of New Jersey never steered any of thegambling related revenues into meaningful redevelopment of thedilapidated neighborhoods away from Atlantic City's seaside. Nowthe state is left with a mess and investors with more losses.

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In the meantime, Connecticut and later Pennsylvania and Delawareopened casinos, which siphoned off Atlantic City's business. Morerecently New York and now Massachusetts are in on the game. As aresult, the big Indian nation run Connecticut casinos have losttheir luster too with the gambler crowd feasting off various newchoices closer and more convenient to home. And if they do not wantto get into cars, the proliferation of online gambling sitesprovides an alternative to bricks-and-mortar.

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Las Vegas and Nevada, which had the gaming industry all tothemselves for decades, are not benefiting either. Now 39 stateshave either legalized commercial and/or Indian run gamblingenterprises all eating into the Strip's business. And Vegas alsohas been hurt by the propagation of high-end gambling resorts inAsia. The big money from China, Korea, Japan, and Singapore doesnot have to fly thousands of red eye miles into the desert mecca toland the big games and get the best comp deals.

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Even so casino hotel developers are falling all over themselvesin New York to get chosen for downstate operating licenses close tothe population bonanza within an hour or two drive from the fiveboroughs, Long Island and Northern New Jersey. The politician talkagain is to help bedraggled local economies near the Catskills andoff the upstate Thruway, but various more alluring proposals wouldlocate closer to the city line. And what happens to the establishedIndian Casinos near Syracuse, Buffalo and other out of the waylocations when their downstate business starts to dry up? And howwill the Yonkers Raceway and Aqueduct slots parlors fare?

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In the near term, the new and most convenient gambling complexeswill draw business at the expense of the more dog-eared and lessconvenient, but their half-lives will get shorter and shorter withall the competition. The Vegas model ofvacation-entertainment-booze-food-and-themed-hotel casinos iswearing out... Any operators who still try to replicate it in thePoconos or Catskills face lengthening odds…

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Just look at the house of cards New Jersey built inAtlantic City.

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Jonathan D. Miller

A marketing communication strategist who turned to real estate analysis, Jonathan D. Miller is a foremost interpreter of 21st citistate futures – cities and suburbs alike – seen through the lens of lifestyles and market realities. For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America's major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for GlobeStreet.com, the real estate news website. Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980's he managed relations for several of the country's most prominent real estate developments including New York's Trump Tower and the Equitable Center. Earlier in his career, Miller was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. He is a member of the Citistates Group and a board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools and the Center for Employment Opportunities.