Only six states have legalized interactive table games and online slot machines. These states have generated over $9 billion from online players on their regulated online casinos. From this figure, individual states have earned millions of dollars annually.
This begs the question of why iGaming is not expanding as well as sports betting in the U.S.A. Last week, several gaming experts met at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City to analyze the market and talk about the future of iGaming in the country.
The iGaming experts attended this year’s East Coast Gaming Congress to have a conversation about iGaming. Titled Whither iGaming, the discussion explained why growth in the online casino market was slow compared to the rapidly growing sports betting.
In a Twitter post with @RSInteractive, @SpectrumGamingG, and @delawarenorth, @EASTCOASTGAMING noted the limited rollout of iGaming. The tweet also asked whether the adoption of sports betting would speed up the adoption of iGaming.
Did the iGaming experts give answers? Continue reading to find out how the conversation went down.
Why Is iGaming Not Expanding As Fast As Digital Sports Betting?
The panel discussing the future of iGaming featured the best of the best experts. They included:
- The Vice President, Marketing, Gaming and Entertainment of Delaware North, Luisa Woods
- Chief Executive Officer at Rush Street Interactive, Richard Schwartz
- Global Head of Government Affairs and Legislative Counsel, Light and Wonder, Howard Glaser
- Commercial Director, North America, and Evolution, Jeffrey Millar
New Jersey was the first to sanction online casino games. Delaware came second a year later in 2012, with Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia joining later.
Meanwhile, sports betting was still illegal in all states except in Nevada before May 2018, when the Supreme Court overruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). States were free to legalize online sports betting several years after the first state legalized online casino games. Yet, the growth of single-game sports gambling is more than that of online regulated casino gaming.
Over 30 states have legalized sports betting since 2018. Most states also allow online betting if the gambler is within the jurisdiction.
The Answer to the Question
The glaring question is, `why have sports betting, which is less lucrative than iGaming, expanded than the latter?` One of the panelists’ responses was that iGaming would stir land-based casinos.
For instance, iGaming websites in New Jersey generated over $1.35 billion in 2021 and $482.7 million in 2019. This was a 180 percent growth.
Nine land-based casinos in Atlantic City generated over $2.5 billion in 2021 and $2.68 billion in 2019. This is almost a 5 percent reduction.
These figures raised another question of whether iGaming platforms poached players from land-based casinos. Luisa Woods disagreed, citing that iGaming helped grow a facility’s player database. Woods formerly headed Tropicana Atlantic City’s digital operations.
Woods explained that casinos would create loyalty accounts for remote customers. She explained that some players would walk to a land-based casino only to find they already had an online account assigned to them. However, she agreed that the numbers for Atlantic City showed some retail players might have moved online.
The iGaming panelists agreed that states with legalized sports betting were ripe to legalize iGaming. They hoped more states would legalize iGaming in the coming years, noting that they already have regulators and servers to start up online casino gaming quickly.
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