by Michael J. Shapiro | July 06, 2011

 In a report issued last week, Moody's Investor Services expressed concern that a sense of slowing economic recovery could reduce consumer spending and undermine recent improvements in the U.S. gaming industry. "We are concerned that consumers' propensity to spend on gaming activities will not withstand another hit to their wallets, even a small one," said Keith Foley, a Moody's senior vice president, in a statement. "Unfortunately, an extended period of consumer weariness -- or any economic event that hurts consumer demand for gaming -- could have a material negative effect on company earnings and lead to some downgrades." Many of the gaming companies rated by Moody's could be vulnerable to such a hit, warns Foley, and be forced to return to lenders for relief or to renegotiate debt. The full report, U.S. Gaming and the Economy: Hopes of Continued Recovery May Be Waning, is available at