Morgan Stanley Slashes Estimate of US iGaming Growth

Morgan Stanley Slashes Estimate of U.S. iGaming GrowthMorgan Stanley, the highly-respected financial services outfit, has revised its previous estimate of online gambling growth in the U.S. by almost half.

[geolink href=””]Last September[/geolink], the company released a report stating that 20 states would likely be hosting regulated online poker and gambling by the year 2020 and that revenue numbers could reach a collective $5.2 billion by that time. New estimates issued yesterday by the firm now put that revenue total at $2.7 billion.

The number of states that will have passed igaming legislation and launched their respective regimes in five years has also been adjusted downward by Morgan Stanley, with 15 being the new total. Another revision mentioned by AP in the report shows that no states will enact online gaming legislation in 2015.

Last year’s report predicted that California lawmakers would finally approve regulations for Internet poker this year. However, that forecast has been put out to pasture due to the same old issues that have plagued progress in the Golden State since 2009. Namely, the state’s gaming interests – Indian tribes in particular – failing to agree on the language contained in ipoker legislation.

Morgan Stanley believes that the powers that be in California will eventually reach a compromise and pass an online poker bill in a few years and has lumped New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania into that estimate. The latter has made the most progress in 2015 and has taken over the unofficial title as the next state most likely to join Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada.

It is interesting to note that a report issued by Morgan Stanley prior to the one released last September estimated igaming revenue in the U.S. to reach $8 billion by 2020. A pattern has now emerged showing a continued downgrade of estimates and makes one wonder why anyone is paying attention to the Morgan Stanley igaming predictions that constantly need a negative adjustment.

Listed as reasons that plague the regulated online gambling industry are: technology related to geolocation that confine gambling to within regulated states; credit card companies that fail to honor would-be deposits from gamblers; ineffective advertising by igaming companies; and the unregulated online poker and gambling market that many U.S. players continue to patronize and enjoy.

If there is any good news to be gleaned from the report, it lies in the fact that Morgan Stanley is unconvinced that a federal bill to ban online gambling will ever be approved. One such current bill, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), was debated last week by a congressional subcommittee.

Morgan Stanley indicated that RAWA may “be gaining momentum,” but the proposal remains somewhat of a longshot to successfully navigate the murky waters of successful passage.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett