Las Vegas appears to be returning to its old form during the first half of 2021, which is good news for tourism and great news for investors. It is another sign of the US bounceback from the lockdown of the pandemic, yet no setback for online gambling, which prospered so well in 2020.
- Stats show visitors are returning to Las Vegas.
- Vegas companies expand online gambling prospects.
- Gambling’s future looks good on the Strip and online.
Sin City is Bouncing Back
Statistics from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority show visitor volume nearly doubled from January to March of this year. The numbers are still behind pre-pandemic levels, but they forecast a return to the norm before the year is out.
Gambling on the Strip has followed the trend. Betting revenue went from $322 million in January to $501 million in March. While the convention numbers are still hungover from the lockdown, the general uptick in core business bodes well for everything from shows to standalone chapels.
However, Vegas economist John Restrepo offered a slight caveat:
The economy here is so dependent on tourism.So how the economy improves around the country will dictate how and if Vegas truly bounces back.John Restrepo
Traditional Companies Bet on Online Gambling
Even with the hubbub over the return of action in Vegas, big names on the Strip are making moves into online gambling.
The traditional gambling companies recognize the online gambling market not for its growth potential but also as a bargain in how the businesses expand. Investing in internet enterprises does not require multibillion-dollar investments in land and buildings to generate revenue as physical expansions do.
Online Gambling Acquisition
Caesars Entertainment acquired London-based online gambling giant William Hill for $4 billion earlier this year to take advantage of the internet wagering market.
And Wynn Resorts made its play recently by merging its online division Wynn Interactive with Austerlitz Acquisitions hoping to expand its presence in the internet sports betting and iGaming markets.
Online Betting Keeps Rising
The companies have tracked the surge in online betting in recent years and see that the boom offers potential. Real money online casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks grew from a $36 billion market in 2016 to more than $60 billion last year.
Experts expect the trend to continue, spurred by the US online gambling market. Much of the US segment’s expansion is because of the law changes in states over recent years.
There have also been indicators of online gambling’s surge outside of the traditional industry. The most prominent example was Sony’s announcement of a patent that would allow eSports betting via their PlayStation platform.
The Future of Las Vegas and Online Gambling
The pandemic has undoubtedly affected both areas over the last year, on the minus side for Las Vegas and the plus side for internet betting. The medical community seems to think there is a chance for another spike, possibly because of variants that keep arising. But with vaccinations also rising, the spike should be small and should register no more than a blip on the Vegas scene.
Las Vegas still needs convention traffic to get back into full swing. In addition, midweek hotel occupancy rates are still below 50%. With everything considered, the future looks good for Vegas and even better for online gambling.