One of the main drivers of the growing gambling movement has been the states’ desire to increase revenues. Now that so many states are getting involved however, gamblers have numerous options, which is lowering the pool of players for any individual casino or state, limiting revenue opportunities.
New Jersey, once the premier gambling destination on the east coast, was surpassed in gambling revenues by Pennsylvania in 2012. Atlantic City’s newest casino, Revel, just declared bankruptcy.
Three casinos have opened in Ohio since 2009, with another set to open next month in Cincinnati. Michigan now has 22 casinos run by autonomous Indian tribes. Meanwhile, tax revenue from neighboring Indiana’s 13 betting sites has declined every year since 2009.
States, and casinos, are beginning to respond. The Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City will be the first U.S. establishment to allow guest-room gambling on slots and poker via a television and remote control. New Jersey, which recently approved gambling on handheld devices, is considering legalizing Internet gambling and wants to legalize sports betting in the state.
In Indiana, a bill by a state Senator would allow casinos to keep a greater percentage of revenue and allow state gambling riverboats to move inland.
While states continue to sanction and build more casinos, how long will operators see opportunity in building them?
We expect that states will attempt to move more aggressively toward online gambling to expand their pool of potential players. With competition for gamblers growing throughout the country, we also expect other states’ casinos to join New Jersey in ramping up technology capabilities in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage.
The big question is, will the Borgata deliver free drinks to the room?