It was reported (September) that the
Bush Administration is not excluding
gambling interests from receiving
economic development tax breaks.
Rep. Frank R. Wolf (Va.), a prominent Republican congressman has sent a letter to President Bush protesting plans to extend tax breaks to gambling casinos as part of the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts.
.........."I do not have the words to express the depth of my disappointment in learning ... that your administration is planning to provide the gambling industry in the Gulf region with special tax breaks.
.........."I trust you will do the right thing and make sure federal resources go to the poor, the needy and the vulnerable and not the gambling interests who already have insurance to cover catastrophic events like hurricanes."
..........According to the Post, the tax break for just one casino, MGM's Beau Rivage, could reach as high as $50 million.
All association members who operated casinos in the region (Gulf) -- MGM Mirage, Harrah's Entertainment, Boyd Gaming Corp., Penn National Gaming, Isle of Capri, Pinnacle Entertainment and President Casinos -- have committed to rebuild their properties.
Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize a multi-billion dollar industry that devastates families and communities.
In his economic package to help the victims of hurricane Katrina, President Bush has included approximately a half-billion (yes, billion) dollars in tax credits for the casinos on the Gulf Coast.
CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
TAX RELIEF SHOULD GO TO THE
NEEDY AND NOT TO THE
WELL INSURED, WEALTHY CASINOS
ARE THE CASINOS?
The Gulf Coast casinos, either destroyed or heavily damaged, were all covered by some form of business interruption and property damage insurance.
Harrah's Entertainment is set to complete its $9.4 billion merger with Caesars Entertainment.
In 2004, Harrahs' revenues rose 15.2 percent to a record
MGM Mirage completed its $7.9 billion buyout of Mandalay Resort Group.
Isle of Capri bid $518 million to obtain a gambling license in Illinois.
Penn National's $2.2 billion acquisition of Argosy will create the third-largest casino operator in the United States with annual revenue of more than $2 billion.
Penn National Gaming, which has two devastated and closed Mississippi properties, said in a statement that the company carries business interruption and property damage insurance for both casinos with an overall limit of $400 million.
Pinnacle is spending $640 million on two new St. Louis casinos.
Pinnacle said its insurance policies provide for $400 million of property damage and business interruption coverage for each of the recent hurricanes.
Pinnacle is "well insured" and doesn't anticipate the hurricane will significantly affect the company in the long term.
The company's $400 million in insurance coverage is "adequate" to build a replacement property for Biloxi...
Boyd's total revenue for 2004 was $1.73 billion.
Shares of Boyd Gaming have more than tripled since the beginning of 2004.
Boyd Gaming reported pretax earnings of $170 million in the quarter, an increase of 111 percent...
Hurricane Katrina destroyed or damaged 16 casinos along the Gulf Coast. Casino operators, including MGM Mirage, Harrah's Entertainment and Boyd Gaming Corp., have said they are expecting insurance to cover nearly all the costs of property damaged by the hurricanes.
MS - The state legislature this week agreed to allow land-based casinos, meaning companies can spend their insurance settlements on newer, and potentially bigger buildings.
Deutsche Bank expects much of the third quarter earnings shortfalls will be made up in later quarters once casino companies begin collecting business interruption and damage insurance.
Fahrenkopf ( American Gaming Association President) said the industry's Washington, D.C. lobbyists were intent on making sure any congressional aid package... gives damaged casinos some of the federal dollars that are distributed for rebuilding efforts.
The casino industry would be able to take part in millions of dollars of tax credits intended to help rebuild the hurricane damaged region under the current White House plan.
Sixty-five members of Congress, sent a letter to President Bush on Wednesday, urging the White House to exclude Gulf Coast casinos from tax credits aimed at speeding hurricane recovery.
"Are hospitals going to get rebuilt or are casinos?" asked Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah.
Already, some industry bosses have begun to leverage the disaster to push the state of Mississippi to allow its barge-top casinos to move ashore, a move that would require a change in the state law that says casinos can't be built on land.
...industry analysts say Mississippi is unlikely to lose its betting business, no matter the risk from future hurricanes.
The New Orleans Levee Board spent $15 million on two overpasses that helped gamblers get to Bally's casino.
Brown strips off $20 from a wad of bills and feeds it into the slot machine at the Argosy Casino... Never mind that his New Orleans house is flooded, and his family is living on mattresses at his brother-in-law's home nearby. But by morning, Brown -- a 60-year-old man who has lost everything -- is gambling. Williams, who has lost nearly $600 gambling in the last several days, said the casino helps relieve stress from the hurricane.
Red Cross officials running the RiverCenter shelter said they did not know that some of its residents were at the casinos.
SOURCES: The Salt Lake Tribune, Las Vegas Review-Journal,
Knight Ridder Newspapers, BOSTON GLOBE, NBC News, http://today.reuters.com/investing/finance, LAS VEGAS SUN, www.newsmax.com, http://yahoo.reuters.com/finance,
FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION, COPLEY NEWS SERVICE, St. Louis Business Journal, investor.harrahs.com/2004Annual/letter.html, South County Journal