Spectrum Gaming Group, an international gaming consultancy, has listed 21 of the most important trends that the global casino industry needs to monitor in 2006.

The trends cover most aspects of commercial and tribal casinos, from regulation to food and beverage, and from slots to tables.
“Many of the trends are new to the list, from communal gaming to Gulf Coast reconstruction,” said Michael Pollock, a Spectrum managing director. “A few trends are evolutionary and will be perennials, such as gaming’s evolution into mainstream entertainment. Other trends not listed here, such as the potential marriage between Internet gaming and public gaming companies, are continually monitored for future inclusion.”

Some related trends from last year’s list have been consolidated. For example, the popularity of poker and other table games is a sub-set of the industry’s effort to reach younger demographics.
New Jersey-based Spectrum (http://www.spectrumgaming.com) serves clients from Atlantic City and Harrisburg to Singapore, Macau and beyond in areas that range from due-diligence and background investigations to economic and feasibility studies. Spectrum publishes Michael Pollock’s Gaming Industry Observer (http://www.gamingobserver.com), an award-winning newsletter.

Many of these trends are analyzed in archived copies of Gaming Industry Observer. This alphabetized list, with additional commentary, will appear in the next issue:
* Accelerated expansion of U.S.-based companies overseas.
* Asia’s continued growth.
* Communal gaming, in which multiple players can play in same bonu ound.
* Continued cashless evolution, electronic funds transfers.

* Continued consolidation among operators, suppliers.
* Continued conversion of racetracks to racinos.
* Continued push for tax rates above 50 percent in new jurisdictions,
coupled with push-back by operators against high tax rates.
* Evolution of gaming companies into entertainment providers.
* Expansion by tribal casinos and private-equity firms into commercia perations.
* Exporting Las Vegas brands and models to other jurisdictions.

* Growing federal resistance against Indian tribes seeking casinos of eservation.
* Growth of conventions in destination markets.
* Gulf Coast reconstruction to create a true southern destination resor xperience.
* Hotel-room growth, use as marketing tool.
* New technology in stepper slots to make them downloadable-ready.
* Outsourcing of food-and-beverage, partnership with signatur estaurants.
* Racino evolution from slots-only to slots and tables – live o lectronic.

* Reaching younger, more diverse demographics.
* Retail and spa development.
* Tribal operators pursuing management contracts with other triba asinos.
* Widespread acceptance of RFID chip tracking and wager recognition i able games.