Soaring online gambling revenue could persuade more American states to allow it
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, many casinos have been shut across the world. Sports betting has also witnessed an unprecedented loss in revenue. Casino-lovers confined in their homes have no other option than embrace online casino-style gambling which is proving to be a real money maker for the industry. Online casino games include; virtual slots, game tables like blackjack, poker played for real money and roulette.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that due to a recent rise in patronage, the online gambling industry is seeking to expand in the U.S. According to the report, an industry trade group, iDevelopment & Economic Association, is currently trying to get states to allow online casino games to take over the dwindling revenue from traditional closed casinos.
The group is also exploring how governors can use the wide emergency powers they presently wield, to quickly allow online casinos to operate.
Barrons.com reported that New Jersey State, a leader in internet gambling, reported rising revenues from internet gambling (not including sports betting). The figures rose 66%, to $65 million in March. It's been reported that the total figure generated from online gambling revenues this year are set to surpass $700 million, this is a huge improvement from the $483 million revenue generator in 2019. This increase is brought on by a shift of casino-lovers from traditional casinos to the internet.
“We believe the impact of COVID-19 could spur more states to legalize online casino and sports betting,” Morgan Stanley gaming analyst Thomas Allen wrote in a client note, quoted on Barrons.
Presently, only very few states allow online casino-type gambling, they include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. However, over 15 states permit online sports gambling. Sports betting at physical casinos are however allowed in very many U.S. states.
While online gambling is raking in the millions, revenue generated from online sports betting has continued to dwindle since the lockdown. The reason for this is obvious- without live sports, there’s little or nothing for punters to put their wagers on.
Forbes reports that the worldwide online gambling market is worth $46 billion. While this figure includes online casino games and online poker, the majority of it had come from sports. With the legalization of sports betting in the U.S., many experts had predicted that the market could double by 202 and then the shutdown happened, stalling the rising figures.
The global suspension of sporting activities has not only affected fans but sports organizations, the gambling industry and punters alike. Fans miss out on the sports they love, while the sports betting industry misses out on critical revenue streams.
Legalizing online gambling in more states might just be the only way to cushion the drastic effects that must follow the drastic loss of revenue experienced in the traditional industry in recent times. As Allen says :
"COVID-19 will likely have a negative impact on state budgetary positions, forcing them to look for new sources of taxes. Also, legalization and the rollout of online forms of gambling can be much quicker than building bricks-and-mortar casinos (Massachusetts a good example). Finally, online can be at least a slight offset to lost revenues during phases of social distancing as we are experiencing today."