As 2021 begins, analysts have revealed that online casino gaming will continue to enter new markets. Many states are struggling to fund budgets due to the onset and continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact has led many lawmakers to search for new forms of revenue and iGaming is one such way to bring in new funds. However, for one state, online casinos are not on the table. Despite having started to offer online poker in 2013, Nevada is not considering offering the counterpart any time soon.
What’s the Hold-Up?
Way back in 2013, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware started to offer online gaming. New Jersey and Delaware decided to go with online poker and casino games while Nevada stuck with online poker. Over the years, New Jersey has been able to grow a significant market when it comes to online gambling as a whole. Nevada has not really generated much by way of funds, since its focus is only on poker.
Becky Harris, a former chairwoman of the Gaming Control Board in Nevada, spoke recently on the subject, stating that as state budgets are coming up short, lawmakers are more open to online gambling. In Nevada though, the industry has decided the online casinos are not something they want to be involved in at this time.
Those who are opposed to online gambling have their own opinion as to why Nevada has not started offering services. In Nevada, there are far more commercial casinos than in other states like New Jersey, where there are only nine. Pennsylvania legalized online gambling in 2017 and started offering services in 2019. They are home to only 12 casinos. In Nevada, the state has more than 200 casinos in operation.
While the land-based venues in other states have benefited from online gaming, there is a fear that with so many land-based venues, there would be a ripple effect from iGaming. In many states where online gambling is available, they have to travel for hours to reach a casino. That is not the case in Nevada.
In Nevada, residents have access to commercial casinos as well as gambling parlors, and taverns. There are convenience gambling areas in neighborhoods so traveling to wager is not an issue. Take away the need to travel and casinos might see huge losses.
This year, analysts do expect that other states will look to bring in revenues from an online gambling expansion. As casinos have shut down or are operating at a much lower capacity as well as the overall pandemic, iGaming is one way to bring in revenues and jobs without health repercussions.
According to Chad Beynon, a gaming analyst with Macquarie, he expects that as many as five states will begin offering online gambling services by next year. Additional states will launch the year after. The analyst feels that within the next four years, just under 30 states will be offering online gaming.
If the coronavirus pandemic continues, it would not be surprising to see more states launching online services. As of right now, it doesn’t appear as if the virus is going to be going away or become less of a threat any time soon.