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It's not quite the proverbial canary in the coal mine, but it looks like one. Heck, when even Joe Sixpack's formerly obsessive spending habits are on the defensive you know something's changed. Such is the message that even gambling revenues from casinos and lotteries are facing a downfall for the first time, according to The New York Times.

"The decline [in gambling] comes as states are rapidly expanding gambling in hopes of stemming severe budget shortfalls, and it indicates that gambling is not insulated from broader economic forces like recessions, as has been argued in the past," the paper reports today.

Among the reported losers: Illinois' gambling revenue is off $166 million in fiscal year 2009 vs. the year earlier; Nevada suffered a $122 million retreat; and New Jersey claimed its slide was $62 million.

Is nothing's sacred in the Great Recession's reordering of spending priorities? Apparently not, with the possible exceptions of Washington's immutable habits with money and certain personal services performed in red light districts. Otherwise, Joe Sixpack's playing a new game these days and it isn't roulette. If you can't count on the crowd's arrival in Vegas and its lookalikes around the country, good luck with trying to sell an extra truckload of wide-screen TVs next week.

Source: Rethinking the Consumer Recovery: Even Gambling Is Down