Deadbeat gamblers as economic indicator

LAS VEGAS (AP) - How do you know the economy is coming back? High rollers are paying their gambling debts.

All four major U.S. casino corporations bumped up their allowances for bad debt during the recession, with one company estimating that fewer than half of outstanding debts would be repaid.

Now, companies have lowered their estimates to pre-recession rates.

The casino business was among the industries hardest hit by the economic downturn, and has been slower to recover. Visitor numbers are only now returning to 2007 levels in Las Vegas, and gambling revenue still has not completely bounced back.

Even during fat times, most patrons were never offered the opportunity to gamble on credit, making this quirky economic indicator one of the lesser known corners of the gambling world.

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