Executives of online gambling companies and their technology partners speaking at the East Coast Gaming Congress provided a glimpse of the performance of sports betting and its rapid growth, and how it has brought about a ready-made infrastructure and regulatory apparatus for online casino gaming.
Sports betting has become a common factor in many jurisdictions in the country, skyrocketing in terms of growth and expansion compared to iGaming’s slow progress. However, during a Friday conference, gaming executives stated the online casino market has “tremendous potential for growth and expansion.”
So far, internet gambling is legal in only six states, which are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Delaware and Connecticut. But the panelists have predicted three or four additional states could soon adopt it, including Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and New York. In addition, more than a dozen states sell lottery tickets over the internet, as noted by James Carey, executive director of the New Jersey Lottery.
Jeffrey Millar, commercial director of North American operations for Evolution, stated he is “confident there is plenty of room for growth,” and this concept was also echoed by David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, who said “growth in this industry is still in its infancy stages in the U.S.”
Richard Schwartz, CEO of Chicago-based online gambling company Rush Street Interactive, added that states that already have legal sports betting are strong candidates to adopt online casino games as well, as they “already have regulators in place,” reported Associated Press.
“They have servers in place. It’s quicker to start up a casino addition,” Schwartz noted. 31 states and Washington D.C. currently offer legal sports betting, with several more expected to launch soon.
Since it went live with internet gambling nine years ago, New Jersey’s casinos have won $4.79 billion from gamblers online, as reported by AGA. That stands for nearly twice the $2.47 billion Pennsylvania casinos have won online since July 2019.
Michigan has seen $2 billion since it went online in January 2021. Connecticut won $199.7 million since October last year, followed by West Virginia which made $137.4 million since July 2020. Delaware saw $42.2 million since December 2013. Nevada offers online poker, but does not break out that revenue separately from the in-person revenue casinos report to the state.
New Jersey is set to extend its law permitting internet gambling for another 10 years, and during Thursday’s opening session of the casino conference, the state’s governor Phil Murphy stated he would sign the bill should it pass.
Gov. Phil Murphy.
In 2018, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case brought by New Jersey cleared the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting should they choose to do so. With that rapid expansion came the expectation that internet gambling would almost automatically grow at a similar pace. However, that was not the case.
Howard Glaser, head of government affairs and legislative counsel at Light & Wonder, said there are lingering concerns, particularly among some state legislators, that internet gambling could cannibalize revenue and customers from brick-and-mortar casinos, despite the fact that the gambling industry itself has established that that has not been 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, a gambling, hospitality and sports company that owns casinos in New York, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia and Ohio. She previously was head of digital operations for Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino in 2013, and shared her experiences at the conference.
“My first job was selling the company that I am not here to compete with your business; I’m here to help it grow,” she said, as reported by AP. “We integrated the brand, we created loyalty accounts for every single remote customer. We had people who would show up at the property for the first time and have a host already assigned to them.”