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U.S. gambling revenues up 6.8 percent to $32.4 billion 5-8-07

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Gambling revenues at U.S. commercial casinos rose
6.8 percent to a record $32.4 billion (euro23.9 billion) in 2006,
according to a survey released Tuesday by the American Gaming
Association.

The survey collected data from state regulatory agencies on 460
commercial casinos in 11 states .

The casinos employed 366,197 people, up 3.2 percent from a year
earlier, and contributed $5.2 billion (euro3.84 billion) in gambling
taxes to state and local governments, up 5.5 percent from a year
earlier, according to the survey.

The survey found strong growth in the 36 racetrack casinos across 11
states, which reported 16 percent more in gambling revenue than the
previous year, or $3.6 billion (euro2.66 billion). Employment at the
properties rose by 30 percent.

American Gaming Association president Frank Fahrenkopf attributed the
growth to the public's relative willingness to approve such expansion.

He said the addition of slots to racetracks is spawning a revival in
the horse racing industry in some states. The survey found such race
tracks accounted for $1.4 billion (euro1.03 billion) in taxes to
state and local governments.

The biggest gambling states by commercial casino revenue were Nevada
at $12.6 billion (euro9.29 billion), New Jersey at $5.2 billion
(euro3.84 billion), Indiana at $2.6 billion (euro1.92 billion),
Mississippi at $2.6 billion (euro1.92 billion), Louisiana at $2.6
billion (euro1.92 billion), and Illinois at $1.9 billion (euro1.4
billion).

Poker continued its four-year rise in popularity in Nevada and New
Jersey, though the survey showed a slowdown in the rate of revenue
growth.

Casinos in those two states took in $238.1 million (euro175.6
million) in poker revenue in 2006, a 15 percent increase over 2005,
when revenue jumped 37 percent.

The number of poker players heading to casinos doesn't appear to have
been affected by a federal Internet gambling ban passed last fall,
though it may be too early to tell, Fahrenkopf said.

The association initially backed the bill but Fahrenkopf said it has
switched positions and supports legislation calling for a study of
the issue.

Fahrenkopf said the association did not find that its members' U.S.
properties had been hurt by the growth of American Indian casinos or
gambling markets abroad.

The survey did not include the gambling revenues from 372 American
Indian casinos in 28 states, 713 card rooms in five states or 11,567
video lottery terminal locations in six states.
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