The Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, operated by the Forest County Potawatomi tribe, saw income grow just 1.7% in the past 12 months through June 30, 2023. That’s because the tribe is in the process of preparing to compete against its latest rivals on the Illinois-Wisconsin border. In that regard, the tribe’s attorney general, Jeff Crawford, commented: “What we’re seeing is a flattening, increased competition, increased costs, supply chain delays, labor shortages. All of this drives up your costs.”
Net casino profit:
The aforementioned hotel-casino located at 1721 Canal St. won a minimum of $415 million from customers during the aforementioned 12-month period, according to a Journal Sentinel calculation formulated on “fees” settled by the tribe to Milwaukee county and the city. The fee is being estimated following the tribe payed the state nearly $20 million.
Additionally, it also collected nearly $395 million in net winnings, according to records. Furthermore, net profit indicates the sum of money punters lose on table games and slot machines doesn’t show income from concerts, hotel and restaurants. Because of the increased casino income, the casino-hotel was able to “pay its members dividends of about $70,000 a year.” Commenting on the increase in profits at the aforementioned casino, executive vice president of Victor Strategies, an Illinois gaming consulting company, said: “The Milwaukee casino market is maturing, but there is still room for future growth. Tribal gaming is still growing. I expect the Potawatomi to continue to grow.”
However, although income from Wisconsin Indian casino is a private matter, Potawatomi gaming income may be accessed “because the tribe pays the city and county of Milwaukee 1.5% of its net win, which was $4.4 million in 2021.” That payment was over $5.9 million to every government for the mentioned period.
Potawatomi’s revenue growth is not as great as for other Las Vegas and tribal casinos:
The mentioned growth of income of the said hotel-casino is not as big as that of other Las Vegas and tribal casinos. On a related note, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission: “The nation’s 519 Indian casinos raked in $40.9 billion in their last fiscal year. That sum was 4.9% greater than the previous year’s total of $39 billion.”
As for Nevada casinos, gaming income is up by 10.5%, rising from $13.4 billion in 2021 to $14.8 billion in 2022. Relatedly, Johnson said: “Las Vegas is doing well. Regional casinos are having a harder time.” However, things are only to get harder for the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino as few of the newest contenders are set to have official openings in Beloit and Waukegan, Illinois in the next months. Additionally, earlier in August, a rock music-themed restaurant run by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the band KISS, Rock & Brews, officially opened in the casino.
In this regard, the tribe’s attorney general Crawford commented: “I don’t think anyone was anticipating the massive expansion of gaming in Illinois. Obviously it’s something we’re paying attention to.” Grant Eve, who observes the gaming industry for Wipfli, consulting and accounting firm, added: “The Chicago casino, which is expected to open next month will definitely impact the Wisconsin market.”
A $100 million renovation:
To fight ever-growing competition for the “recreational dollar,” during 2022, the Forest County Potawatomi tribe revealed that it intends to undergo a $100 million refurbishment of its aforementioned hotel-casino, which involves the addition of a new bar with 28 bar-top “slot seats,” 1,800 slot machines and the latest restaurant. However, in addition to this, it is also implied to add a special room for gamblers who like to spend much money while gambling, which will consist of a stage for live shows, a craft bar and a gourmet kitchen that will have a brick oven.
What’s more, it was this year that the said casino officially opened its sportsbook. Speaking on this particular issue, Eve said: “Sports betting is high revenue, low margin for the house. But, offering the ability to place bets on sporting events is a good draw for young men, who may stick around to play the slots or a table game such as craps or blackjack.”
The use of video gambling machines has exploded in Illinois:
Even though casinos in Illinois are overall smaller that the aforementioned casino in Wisconsin, the total number of video game machines in the aforementioned state has experienced unexpected growth. In this regard, according to the Illinois Gaming Board: “There are more than 8,300 licensed video gaming locations operating more than 46,000 slot and video gambling machines across the state.” Additionally, few of its rivals are casinos owned by Bally’s Corporation.
However, beside them, there is also the Menominee tribe, which is trying to open a casino in Kenosha and has partnered with Hard Rock International for this. On that note, Frank said: “The big concerns are we can we grow our revenue in this competitive market. Some of the tribe’s Illinois competitors are owned by giant companies with deep pockets. A good number of these entities make Potawatomi look like a small operation. We’re kind of like a mom-and-pop operation compared with the big boys. A mom-and-pop operation that won about $800 million at slots and table games in the past two years.”