In yet another instance of data showing that cannibalization of land-based casinos is simply not occurring due to online gambling, Boyd Gaming released its July 2014 revenue statement. For the first time since online gambling launched in New Jersey in late November, Boyd Gaming has broken even. Not bad for an industry that is only 9 months old, according to Keith Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming. Legal gambling is represented by the company’s partnership with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. Smith said recent data showed that more than 75% of the New Jersey online gambling participants frequenting his company’s website “are not active players of Borgata”. Several other important studies have showed that the theory claiming cannibalization of physical casino revenue by online casinos is unfounded. Data has consistently proven the same claim – that online gamblers in the United States generally are not the same type that enjoy traveling to a land-based casino.
For some time now it has been public knowledge that billionaire Sheldon Adelson is not a fan of online gambling in the United States. The Las Vegas Sands CEO has been a vocal proponent of any type of Internet casino and poker gambling, whether offered at the individual state or at the federal levels in the US. He publicly vowed to spend “as much money as it takes” to shut down the growing US online gambling industry recently, but he may have a problem. If Adelson sees virtual gambling as a threat to his physical casinos, online gambling proponents and business owners definitely see Mister Adelson as a threat to their well-being and existence. And they are fighting back.
The United States online gambling marketplace was discussed in earnest during this year’s GiGse Totally Gaming iGaming Conference in San Francisco, California. Three politicians added their opinions, including former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Brown admitted to “flip-flopping” on the Internet gambling issue “multiple times” in the 15 years he spent as Speaker of the California State Assembly. Provocative and even questionable at times, Brown was both a highlight and low point at the important Internet gaming event. The former politician’s concerns were that “Internet gambling is not capable of being regulated in the way that it meets be.” However, he admitted to recently traveling to Nevada to gamble, and has in the past on several occasions voted for legalizing online gambling, both nationwide, and as a state-regulated California industry.
As you know, New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada all offer some sort of legalized online gambling. But the combined populations of those 3 US states is just over 12.6 million. That is less than 1/3 of the California population of 38.3 million. The tiny state of New York claims 19.6 million residents, Illinois is 5th in US state population size at 12.9 million, and Pennsylvania is close behind with 12.7 million residents. Even Massachusetts claims 6.7 million residents. Coincidentally, those 5 states are all feverishly working toward the same goal … becoming the 4th state in the young but growing United States online gambling industry. And they all offer one thing that has thus far been missing – a substantial population to draw potential players from.