Status of Internet Gaming in the U.S.

With all of the recent developments in online gaming and so much to sift through, we thought it was time to give our readers our version of the Cliff’s Notes.  First, there has been a lot of talk and a lot of movement toward legalizing online gaming in the United States, with much activity on the state level.  Second, many land-based and online gaming firms have been partnering-up in anticipation of legalization.  This blog entry is the first in a series and will briefly discuss what is happening on the state level.

The Department of Justice’s December 23 opinion opened the flood gates for states to consider online gaming, with many looking to get started with online lottery sales.  Those discussing sales of lottery tickets over the Internet are Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts.  Still other states are discussing or are in the process of legalizing other forms of online gaming: Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, California, Nevada, and Maine.

In Connecticut, where gaming is the exclusive right of Native American Tribes, those tribes have been in talks with the governor.  The Tribes have stated that a new agreement with the state would be necessary to allow Internet gaming, and it is still unclear whether the state lottery or the tribes would get the rights to it.  The sale of lottery tickets online is expected to come up for discussion in the upcoming legislative session.

Iowa is considering multi-state Internet poker, with legislation being considered this session.  The current plan would legalize online poker games within the state and with those in  other jurisdictions that have approved Internet gaming, including Washington, DC, Nevada, and possibly foreign countries.  The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has estimated the rake from these games to be between $13 million and $60 million annually, with the potential for $3-13 million in tax revenues annually.

New Jersey recently made news for legalizing sports betting, although the state will now have a fight with the federal government to overturn a law banning sports betting in all but 4 states.  The state is currently considering legislation to allow all casinos to offer online gambling including poker, blackjack, and other casino games.

Nevada has been the most pro-active of any of the states with regard to Internet gaming.  Nevada was the first state to legalize Internet gaming, with a law on the books for a decade that has not yet been implemented.  Recently, the Nevada Gaming Commission wrote online gaming rules and have also adopted online poker regulations.  Internet poker could go live in Nevada in as little as 9 months.

This is an exciting time for proponents of Internet gaming.  No one expected the recent DOJ opinion, and its effects will be realized in the near future.  How the states will react is still up in the air.  Right now, nothing is certain except that the online gaming landscape will be changing and soon.

Contributed by:

Suzanne P. Leckert

Director of Gaming, Feasibility & Land Use Analysis

suzanneleckert@tmg-consulting.net  or (504)569-9239 x 33

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Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

At What Point Is the Casino Gaming Market Saturated?

As states such as Massachusetts, Florida, New York, New Hampshire, and Maryland enter or expand their presence in the casino gaming market, we have to ask ourselves the question: at what point will the market be saturated?

State by state, casino gaming has been legalized in the U.S.  In years where state and personal budgets are tight, the pace of legalization accelerates as lawmakers search for sources of jobs and for revenues to fund state services and programs.  With each state that has entered the fray, gaming revenues have risen.  The growing American population and the growing acceptance of gaming have fueled the casinos nationwide.  However, established gaming centers such as Atlantic City have suffered, as the majority of the nation’s population is now within a drive or short flight of a casino.

Over the past 8 years or so, I have been analyzing gaming markets across the U.S.  Most recently, I’ve been assessing the potential for expanded gaming in Florida and the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic/New England markets.  What I’m seeing and forecasting is this:  the marketplace can absorb the casinos that are currently proposed, but too much additional supply above and beyond these proposals could saturate the market.  The additions of proposed supply will certainly make competition tougher and will likely have a negative impact on existing gaming operators that don’t step up to the plate.  This competition will be great for gamers – they’ll have more options, and will be able to pick and choose where to spend their gaming dollars.

All of this makes the jobs of those in the gaming industry harder, but potentially more rewarding.  The vast potential for gaming in the United States has not been tapped completely, and smart players in the game will benefit.  In addition to building and operating facilities that gamers will like, gaming firms must consider location.  Capturing gaming dollars will largely be a function of finding the right location – build too far from the population or too close to competition, and revenues could suffer; build in an inaccessible location or one that the community is not in favor of, and no one will come; ignore the potential for synergy with other entertainment options (including other casinos!) and you might be turning away revenues.  Thorough analysis, site evaluation, and thoughtful site selection can help make the difference between building a casino that performs on-par with the market, or one that not only is a market leader, but has the ability to grow the market.

So, the answer to the question of saturation isn’t that simple.  Are we at saturation?  No.  Are we getting close?  Mabye?  Will smart gaming operators be able to grow the market?  We’ve seen it before, why not again?

Contributed by:

Suzanne P. Leckert

Director of Gaming, Feasibility & Land Use Analysis

suzanneleckert@tmg-consulting.net  or (504)569-9239 x 33

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.