Strong economy gives people casino spending money

The Wailers perform a free show Saturday night at Sky 7-37, Magic City Casino’s outdoor stage.
The Wailers perform a free show Saturday night at Sky 7-37, Magic City Casino’s outdoor stage.

Business at South Florida casinos has flattened out a bit, similar to what is happening across the country. But some who follow the industry say the important engine — the economy — is still strong. So people have money to spend.

“We’ll continue to see growth,” said Daniel Holmes, co-practice leader for RubinBrown’s Gaming Services Group.

Holmes noted that even though gaming industry revenues did not keep pace with the overall economy in 2016, the public’s desire for gaming led to a revenue increase of almost 1 percent. As important, new revenue sources, such as internet gambling, are on the verge of sprouting.

For example, a recent earnings report from Paddy Power Betfair quoted a “transformational” growth in sales because of the internet. That helped New Jersey gambling, which has been perceived to be a dying market, to show real signs of life.

“When you factor in online gaming, New Jersey actually had a revenue increase in 2016, for the first time in 10 years,” Holmes said. “That is huge in my mind, as well as for those properties operating there.”

South Florida’s eight racetrack casinos average a total of $40 million to $50 million per month through slots, with the numbers higher during winter. (Poker revenues are about one-tenth that.) The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukees combine to run four casinos, and don’t have to reveal their numbers — which are much higher because they don’t have to pay the 35 percent slot tax the parimutuels do.

Holmes’ company, based in St. Louis, performs accounting, tax compliance and consulting services for the gaming industry nationwide.

Holmes added that the bigger picture, though, is worth remembering: “When the economy does well, gaming does well.”

Coming up

▪ Casino Miami’s five-year anniversary party climaxes from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, with 15 names drawn every 30 minutes. Those patrons will each play a kiosk game, which awards prizes, and one prize that could be picked is for $1 million cash.

▪ Magic City Casino will present a free concert by The Wailers at 8 p.m. Saturday. The Wailers, originally co-founded by Bob Marley, will be performing their 1984 Legend album, featuring “Three Little Birds,” “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Jamming.”

▪ Hialeah Park’s biggest poker tournament of the month is at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The event guarantees $20,000 in prize money. Buy-in is $200. The tournaments the rest of the month: A $75 buy-in at 7 p.m. Mondays and a $100 entry at 6 p.m. all other Wednesdays.

▪ Chris Kattan from “Saturday Night Live” and “A Night at The Roxbury” headlines a comedy show at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Casino @ Dania Beach. Tickets start at $20. Before that The Spin Doctors play at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Dania Beach Arts & Seafood Celebration, across the street from The Casino @ Dania Beach. The event is at Frost Park, and admission is free.

▪ The Seminole Hard Rock poker room has $1,000 high hands, with rollovers, from 2 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. A deep stack tournament at 11 a.m. Saturday carries a $15,000 guarantee, with a bonus of an $1,100 entry into the Big Slick tournament added. Entry is $150.

▪ Gulfstream Park Casino has a $250,000 free play giveaway with drawings every day. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend new members receive a scratch card worth up to $100 in free play when signing up for the player’s club for the first time. Live entertainment EVERY Friday and Saturday night from 8pm-midnight. See gulfstreampark.com/casino for details.

▪ The Collection Casino for a Cure night to help The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis is set for Friday in Coral Gables. The $100 Panamera Party ticket covers entry for blackjack, roulette and craps to win prizes. The casino opens at 6:30 p.m. Entry to the 7:30 p.m. poker tournament is $250. Call 888-782-6387 or visit thebuonicontifund.com/casino-2017. Fat Tuesdays

▪ Mardi Gras Casino has “Extra Green” from 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays in April. One person wins $1,000 hourly.

▪ The Isle Casino marks its 10th anniversary this month with multiple events, including free play giveaways from noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Five patrons will be picked every 30 minutes to win $200 in free play, with the grand award being $5,000 at 11 p.m.

Twitter: @NickSortal