Moody’s analysts expect marginal uptick for gaming in 2011

NEW YORK CITY The U.S. gaming industry should see some marginal performance improvement in 2011, analysts at Moody’s Investors Service believe.

The firm projects gaming revenue to grow about 1% to 2% next year, while profits will increase 2% to 4%. This is an improvement on Moody’s previous estimate for 2011, which had gaming revenue coming in somewhere between a 1% decline and a 1% increase, while profits had been projected at between a 2% drop and a 2% gain.

Moody’s latest gaming industry report, released last week, maintains a stable outlook, which means the firm expects fundamental credit conditions in the industry to stay even for the next 12 to 18 months. However, Moody’s notes that its outlook “has a positive bias,” implying that conditions are more likely to improve than to deteriorate.

High unemployment will keep pressure on gamblers’ budgets and casino profitability across all U.S. gaming markets in 2011, Moody’s says. The recovery may be swifter in newer gaming markets, like New York and Pennsylvania, while the established markets of Las Vegas and Atlantic City will have a longer period of recovery, the firm says.