The domestic US gambling market has been rocked by the 2020 coronavirus shutdowns perhaps to a larger degree than most other industries, but there are indications that a correction – and a summary explosion – are imminent.
Ever since PASPA was overturned in 2018, the focus – for most players, operators, and state legislators – has been on legalizing local sports betting.
And that’s borne out by the fact that over 20 states have indeed made the popular pastime legal in just under three short years.
What’s more is that most other states are in the preliminary or middle stages of doing the same thing.
Even states historically antagonistic to gambling – such as Alabama, Georgia, and even Hawaii – are now well on their way to the eventual legalization of sports wagering.
Unfortunately, however, sports betting is not all that profitable as a business enterprise, even at the highest levels.
That’s simply because sportsbooks pay out, on average, some 95% of what they take in.
A really successful book might only pay out 92-93% of the total betting handle, but that’s the exception that proves the rule.
And, of course, any bad beat or big upset can crush a sportsbook’s quarter, plunging it into the red.
Sports betting, you see, is a gamble for the player and the operator alike.
Casino gambling, however, is a sure thing for the operator.
For example, slots – the most popular casino gambling market by far – have a fairly rigid 6% win rate, with most state regulations requiring that at least 89% of all wagered monies are paid back to players.
Because slots are based on RNG (random number generation) software, this win rate is able to be held more or less steady. A casino can thus expect a certain monthly profit off its slots in a way that leaves no room for upside-down apple carts.
Indeed, this is what makes legal online slots so compelling from a business standpoint.
But they’re also a huge win from the player’s standpoint.
Consider: Internet-based casino games are programmed to operate exactly like the RNG electronic slots you get at the best Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos.
The transition of slots from in-person to online is thus seamless, and players at the best US gambling sites have known this for years.
In fact, in most cases, the online slot games at these sites are designed by the very same RNG developers that produce the game terminals for the top brick-and-mortar casinos in the world.
Naturally, the same is true for most table games, as well. Online gambling operators have dozens of RNG blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and specialty titles to choose from.
They even boast live dealer casino games that mirror every element of live casino gambling – except for the comped drinks.
And that’s precisely why industry analysts think that legal domestic online casino games – and not domestic sports betting services – are the actual lifeblood of the industry going forward.
Per Joonas Karhu, CBO of Bojoko – a Europe-based online gambling advisory service – the American marketplace is primed to be the biggest in the world.
“We believe that the US will become the biggest regulated online gambling market in the world… As more states see the benefit of regulated online gambling, more states will legalise the activity.”
This domino effect is indeed what is likely to happen.
But it hasn’t happened quite yet.
Just last month, Michigan became only the fifth US state to launch domestic online casino gambling, or iGaming.
Clearly, iGaming has a long way to go in catching up to domestic sports betting, but the latter is just the proverbial foot in the door. The end game – for all parties involved – is to get online casinos up and running.
There’s just one snag: In the US, the domestic market will never be as robust as it could.
Simple: Because the international market has a 20-year head start.
Legal online gambling sites – featuring online casino games, online sportsbooks, online poker tournaments, and even online horse racing betting – have been taking US players aged 18 and up since the turn of the millennium.
Today, literally millions of Americans play with these operators and have longstanding accounts with them. They trust them, have balances with them, and have been satisfied customers for years.
What can the US market do to attract such established gamblers to domestic options?
Frankly, it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with.
But even more frankly, we’re not holding our breath.
No matter how hard the states push these new betting markets, the simple fact is that they’re completely outclassed by the international betting sites in the space.
Heck, these local venues don’t even take Bitcoin, for crying out loud!
Source: Gambling Insider