The Allegheny County Airport Authority has released its budget for 2010. And while it contains a very slight increase in expenditures over this year’s budget it has been necessary to boost airline charges to cover expenditures and to reverse a decline in revenues. These higher costs will ultimately be passed along to passengers or lead to lower profits for the airlines.
In its first full week (8-10 through 8-16) of operation, the Rivers Casino earned $5.3 million in gross profit-out of which over 50 percent goes to taxes with the remainder used to cover operating and financial costs. The average daily take was $0.76 million. This has to be disappointing for an opening week that should be one of the casino’s biggest weeks of the year, newness and all that.
It must be disappointing because the owner is projecting gross profits of $420 million the first year of operation. That requires the casino to average $1.15 million per day. If the first week’s actual daily rate is sustained, the casino will bring in only $276 million. That will hurt not only the casino but the projected tax revenues for the state and County. Pittsburgh is guaranteed $10 million so it will not suffer.
When the president of the casino says "we’re satisfied" with the first week performance, it is important to read between the lines. If things had gone as hoped, the comment would have been much more effusive-such as "we are very happy" or "we are ecstatic".
Still, since the opening, 20,000 visitors have lost $6.5 million, meaning the average gambler dropped $325. Obviously, some lost a lot more than $325 to lift the average to that level. Every week a new set of folks willing to leave behind hundreds of dollars must be found to replace those who will quickly get tapped out at that loss rate.