Mergers and Consolidation in the U.S. Gambling and Horse Racing Industries: What It Means for Local Economic Development and Taxation

Main Article Content

Thomas E. Lambert


Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most sectors of the various gambling industries in the United States were showing signs of stagnation or flat growth. Over the past few years, these industries have seen mergers between horse racing tracks, between horse racing tracks and casinos to form “racinos”, and between casino companies. Some gambling facilities and racetracks have closed and have been sold to developers to be used for other purposes. An industry “shakeout” is occurring, and there appears to be a trend towards greater industry concentration as consumers could be showing less interest in gambling in general or that gambling is failing to attract new patrons as it did in past decades. This could be partially fuelled by the stagnation of disposable personal income (DPI) over the past 20 years or so. Consumer preferences and attitudes also seem to have changed regarding horse racing and gambling. Sports gambling and the expansion of online gambling do not appear to have offset negative or flat growth trends. These current conditions are somewhat a reversal of past fortunes in that in the 1980s and 1990s, the opening of a casino in a city was often considered a plus for local economic development. As more consolidation and establishment closures occur, the impact on various local communities and state governments must be examined regarding lost jobs, lost local and state tax revenues, and lost tourism. This paper is an attempt to assess these developments.

Article Details