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Cory Morowitz, President, Morowitz Gaming Advisors

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In these recessionary times, relatively few businesses are in high demand, particularly in the gaming industry. However, times like these fuel demand for services offered by Cory Morowitz.

Morowitz runs a consultancy designed to help gaming companies operate efficiently, reduce costs, increase revenues, and get balance sheets in order. In other words, the precise actions needed to ride out a recession.

Morowitz Gaming Advisors grew out of Cory Morowitz’s accounting firm Morowitz & Co., founded more than 20 years ago in a suburb of Atlantic City. In the late 1990s, Morowitz was asked by Capital Gaming International, a company that managed Native American casinos in several states, to take over as chief financial officer.

During nearly a year as the operator’s CFO, Morowitz helped renegotiate debt from $130 million to $22 million while maintaining the company’s gaming management contracts, preserving over $100 million of gross gaming revenue and bringing the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“During that time, I learned the business from the inside, and realized there are a lot of opportunities in this industry,” Morowitz recalls. “So we opened a separate gaming consulting firm to leverage the experience I had. Since then, it’s been an interesting ride as the industry has grown.”

Since founding the gaming consultancy in 2000, Morowitz has presided over feasibility studies, database analysis, impact studies and other services for clients across the industry. He says part of what his experience taught him is that the industry was unprepared for the current recession, particularly on the cost side of balance sheets.

“The gaming industry has been a victim of its own success,” Morowitz says. “In the past, you opened the doors, you made money. You didn’t watch costs as much as maybe you should have. The past couple of years have changed that. I can’t imagine there are many operators now who don’t spend time benchmarking and going through their operations with a fine-tooth comb to keep costs at a minimum.”

While helping operators keep costs down, Morowitz has become an expert at maximizing revenue. Morowitz Gaming recently developed a “gaming floor optimization” software tool the firm uses to help casinos get the most out of their games, as a joint venture with Canadian firm CMU Gaming.

“We take a gaming firm’s slot and table data, and using our own algorithms, we analyze that data,” Morowitz explains. “We give operators a database showing how their games are operating under a number of different metrics.”

For slots, that means actual and theoretical earning numbers, analysis of utilization, win per unit and other metrics, all presented to the operator in an easy-to-understand report identifying games with names like “Dog” or “Star Performer.”

Reports like these will become more important as the economy emerges from the recession, which Morowitz predicts will occur sooner in some markets than others.

“Some markets haven’t really been impacted that badly,” he says. “For example, in Missouri and some other Midwest jurisdictions, unemployment isn’t that bad. The locals markets have the ability to recover most quickly. Destination markets like Atlantic City and Las Vegas have been hurt the most. In any place where there is a ‘ground-zero’ of the housing crisis, it’s going to be harder to bounce back. The consumer is driven by economics.”

In those tough markets, operators are going to be relying on people like Morowitz more heavily for some time to come.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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