The US online gambling industry is getting more and more attention. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, land-based casinos had to close, and Nevada took the biggest hit. All states that have regulated online gambling continued generating revenue, but not Nevada. As you know, they only allowed online poker, and this has left Nevada empty-handed compared to other states.
- The US online gambling market has flourished amid the COVID-19 crisis
- Nevada’s land-based casinos took a hit with only online poker allowed, revenue dropped
- Increase in iGaming could leave Golden State casinos behind with the current trend
Expansion of US Online Gambling
The impact of COVID-19 can be felt worldwide, in different industries, but mostly in the US’s land-based casinos. In March, all land-based casinos had to close due to the social distancing and other health protocols to protect players from getting infected by the virus.
Therefore, in April and May combined, with all casinos on lockdown, the statewide gambling revenue was only $9.44 million, which means it was down 99% over the same two months in 2019.
Nevada’s Revenue Dropped
While other states with legal online gambling were generating revenue with online slots and table games, Nevada was a different story. As the spokesmen from the iDEA Growth John Pappas said:
From our organization’s perspective, Nevada is missing out. We recognize that change in Nevada has to be spearheaded by the brick and mortar casinos.
While states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey generated $108 million and $178.4 million, respectively, with online gambling generating more than 75% of the revenue, Nevada was left behind.
Christ Crove, the analyst at Eilers and Krejcik Gaming Research, added:
It’s evident to us that the introduction of online casinos would have an additive impact on the total amount of gambling revenue generated by the Nevada locals market.
Nevada Online Gambling
Nevada has been a years-long leader in land-based gambling; there’s no doubt in that. And while shining in that scene, it never got to regulate online gambling fully.
Nevada Restricts Online Gambling Legalization
Briefly, in 2002, Nevada lawmakers legalized internet gambling. however, they were reminded that the US federal law prohibited gambling on the internet, so they halted efforts.
After the Federal Wire Act was reinterpreted, and many states legalized online gambling, Nevada only approved online poker in 2013. The thing is, there’s a lack of consensus in the casino industry.
Everyone knows the decade-long opposition of giant companies like Las Vegas Sands Corp. Its CEO and chairman, Sheldon Adelson, openly vowed to kill the activity even if he had to spend millions to do it.
What about Sports Betting?
The story of sports betting is different. In 2018, MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings partnered and formed Roar Digital, which oversees the BetMGM app. The app has already gone live in seven states and is expected to go live in 4 more states by the end of 2020.
With the recent $1 billion investment by Barry Diller through IAC, MGM’s interactive gambling business will likely flourish. As Diller put it:
There is a digital-first opportunity within MGM Resorts’ already impressive offline businesses, and with our experience, we hope we can strongly contribute to the growth of online gaming.
Leaving Las Vegas – The Rise of US Online Gambling
The pandemic situation is still largely uncertain, even though the world is making considerable efforts to stop it and find a cure. But while the COVID-19 is still a reality, online gambling is expected to continue increasing, as people have shown interest in it, and their desire to visit land-based casinos and risk their own lives by going there has ceased.
However, states who haven’t regulated real money online casinos and other gambling types are missing out on a huge profit opportunity, like Nevada. Seven states had legislation pending in 2020 spring, before the Coronavirus outbreak. Lawmakers suspended sessions indefinitely, but considerable changes in revenue could happen if they were to resume them. The rise of online gambling in the US is evident, so it all comes down to which states will grab the largest piece of the pie.