02/22/2012 : BOYD BOSS FLEXIBLE ON INTERNET GAMBLING LEGALISATION
The preference is federal, but a state-by-state approach will not deter gambling group from entering the market, says CEO
Speaking at an earnings call on Boyd Gaming's Q4-2011 results Tuesday, the US gambling group's CEO Keith Smith talked briefly about the legalization of online gambling in the United States, and how it may come about.
His comments echoed those of analysts earlier this week who said that state-by-state legalization may occur faster than a federal solution.
"We will also continue to look for growth opportunities such as Internet gaming," Smith told reprsentatives of the media. "As you know, after our last earnings call, we announced an agreement with Bwin.party digital entertainment, the largest publicly traded online game company. This agreement positions the company to be a key player in this exciting new market.
"While it appears today [that] federal legalization for Internet gaming is a little further off than we had hoped, we are well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity.
"We believe the best approach is for Congress to enact legalization that creates a national, well-regulated environment for Internet gaming. And while we believe federal legalization is profitable, we will consider entering the market on a state-by-state basis if that's how the issue plays out.
"We've already applied for an interactive gaming license in Nevada.
"Potential acquisitions also remain a focus for the company. However, we will only look at acquisitions that help advance the company's strategic goals," he added.
Smith also covered the indicators of a recovery from recession of Nevada's gambling industry, pointing to consistent improvements in many critical key economic indicators ober the past 18 months, embracing visitor volumes, gaming revenues, taxable sales and employment.
"Gaming revenue generated by Nevada's casino's industry in 2011 was $10.7 billion, a 2.8 percent increase over 2010," the gambling chief revealed.
"It was the second straight year of growth and the highest annual increase in 4 years. In addition, 2011 was the second best year ever for Las Vegas visitor volume, it was 300,000 short of the record of 39.2 million visitors in 2007. We're confident that 2012 will see Las Vegas set a record and surpass the 40 million visitor mark. 2011, saw an all-time record for occupied room nights as well."