They say that in bad economic times about the only thing that people don’t cut back on is entertainment. “Batman the Dark Knight,” this summer’s blockbuster movie, is on its way to breaking all time attendance records, giving Spiderman III and even the mighty Star Wars a run for their money in box office receipts. And St. Louis area gamblers haven’t been staying away from the casinos either. My mom’s favorite thing to do after she retired was to hit the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles near her home several times a week. When things got a little tight, she would simply cut back on the amount of money she put in the machines, going from the quarter slots down to the nickel and so on. If she came out ahead she would save that for the next time her and her friends went and go back up in her denominations.According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, (www.stltoday.com) local casino revenues jumped 7.5 percent in July, despite the economy being weak. Gamers spent some $90.6 million at the six area casinos in July of 2008. Much of the gain was attributed to the new Lumiere Casino downtown, which opened in December. The area’s revenue leader, Ameristar out in St. Charles, saw an increase of 5.6 percent and the Casino Queen, which sits across the river from Lumiere, saw a slight increase. It’s the first one they have seen since the new casino opened. The President Casino has seen a big drop in revenue since Lumiere opened essentially right alongside it. There are rumors that the casino on the old Admiral riverboat might be closing soon as Lumiere also owns it. The boat was also closed for most of the month of July die to flooding. At the Argosy Casino in Alton, Illinois business is still down as it was also affected by the flood.
For those of you who want to gamble even though the economy is tight, here is a breakdown of the payout percentage for each of the casinos. The percentage represents the average of how much each gamer gets to keep at the end of the day: These are all the latest numbers available from May of 2008.
President…………. 92.12% Casino Queen…….. 94.68%
Lumiere Place ……90.81% Argosy …………….93.47%
Harrah’s ………….90.97% Ameristar………….91.13%
So it looks like when the casino Queen says in their advertising that they have the loosest slots in town, they really mean it.