ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (TAUT) — As sports betting has flooded the country with states, casinos and consumers eager to embrace a new gambling market, Internet casino games have grown much more slowly.
But the online casino market has tremendous growth and expansion potential, participants at a major casino conference said Friday.
Speaking at the East Coast Gaming Congress, executives of online gambling companies and their technology partners said the rapid growth of sports betting has provided a turnkey infrastructure and regulatory device for online casino games.
So far, gambling is legal in only six states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, Delaware and Connecticut.
But panelists at the conference predicted that three or four other states could soon adopt internet gambling, including Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and New York.
In addition, more than a dozen states sell lottery tickets over the Internet, according to James Carey, executive director of the New Jersey Lottery.
“I’m convinced there’s plenty of room for growth,” said Jeffrey Millar, commercial director of North American operations for Evolution, an online casino content provider.
“Growth in this industry is still in its infancy in the US,” added David Rebuck, New Jersey’s top gaming regulator as director of the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Richard Schwartz, CEO of Chicago-based online gambling company Rush Street Interactive, said states that already have legal sports betting are strong candidates to adopt online casino games as well.
“They already have regulators,” he said. “They have servers in place. It is faster to start up a casino addition.”
Currently, 31 states plus Washington DC offer legal sports betting, with more expected to follow soon.
Since it launched internet gambling nine years ago, New Jersey’s casinos have won $4.79 billion from online gamblers, according to the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s national trade group. That’s nearly double the $2.47 billion that Pennsylvania casinos have won online since July 2019.
Michigan has won $2 billion online since January 2021; Connecticut $199.7 million as of October 2021; West Virginia $137.4 million as of July 2020; and Delaware $42.2 million as of December 2013. Nevada offers online poker, but does not separate that revenue from the personal revenue that casinos report to the state.
These figures are for online casino games only and do not include sports betting earnings, which are reported separately.
New Jersey is about to extend its law permitting internet gambling for another 10 years, and during the opening session of the casino conference on Thursday, Democratic governor of the state, Phil Murphy, promised he would sign the bill if it passed. are accepted.
A 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case filed by New Jersey paved the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting if they so choose. With that rapid expansion came the expectation in some circles that internet gambling would grow almost automatically at an equally rapid pace.
“That hasn’t happened,” said Howard Glaser, head of government affairs and legislative adviser at Light & Wonder, the successor to gambling technology company Scientific Games.
He said there are ongoing concerns, especially among some state lawmakers, that internet gambling could cannibalize land-based casinos’ revenue and customers — although the gambling industry itself has determined that this is not the case.
Casinos initially had the same concerns when New Jersey launched internet gambling in November 2013. Luisa Woods is vice president of Delaware North, the gambling, hospitality and sports company that owns casinos in New York, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia and Ohio. .
Previously, in 2013, she was the head of digital operations for the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City.
“My first job was selling the company I’m not here to compete with your company; I’m here to help it grow,” she said. “We integrated the brand, we created loyalty accounts for every external customer. We had people showing up at the property for the first time and we had already been assigned a host.”
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