Lest we get carried away with the vision from Albany of setting up a cash-cow casino on every street corner to fill the state coffers, let's heed the lesson of Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.
Foxwoods is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and is one of the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere. For the scale of what that means, consider that the casino has more than 6,000 slot machines. It is enormously successful in terms of size and scale.
But first came news earlier in the month that the owners had to restructure $2.2 billion of debt with lenders and bondholders.
Foxwoods CEO Scott C. Butera called the restructuring a critical step forward.
"It provides for a capital structure that will support significant investments in our gaming and hospitality businesses,'' he said.
Then came news a few weeks later that increased gambling competition from other casinos is forcing Foxwoods to shift its business to include more non-gambling enterprises such as retail and conferences.
Too, Butera told The Associated Press that Foxwoods is anticipating New York's Aqueduct Racetrack "racino" will be successful, thus siphoning gamblers from the Connecticut casino, and so Foxwoods is looking to shift some of its revenue stream away from gambling - developing its food and beverage business and expanding corporate events at its MGM Grand hotel.
Table games and slot machines will still dominate Foxwoods' business, but it will just not be as lucrative when gamblers have other places to lose their money.
Recall that the dilution of the marketplace is at the heart of the spat between New York state and the Seneca Nation of Indians. The Senecas contend the state is reneging on its agreement to protect an exclusivity zone around the Seneca casinos here in Western New York. The state sees big dollar signs and hopes to capture some of the hundreds of billions of dollars gamblers spend every year.
While it sounds as if there is plenty to go around for everyone, the news from Foxwoods Resort Casino cautions otherwise.