The US gambling industry is one of the most dynamic industries in the world, with important events taking place almost every week. New casinos are opened every once in a while, more states join the sports betting race, online gambling is becoming legal, and properties are being sold big time.
It’s a lot to follow, and that why we selected a couple of events that really made the difference in 2019.
Therefore, let’s take a look at some of the most important things that happened this year.
Pennsylvania Goes Online
The state of Pennsylvania legalized almost all forms of gambling in 2019, with the main focus on online gambling, online poker, and sports betting. Although there’s still a lot of work to do to popularize this type of entertainment and attract customers, Pennsylvania is ready to get down to business and fill the state’s coffers with the expected tax on these forms of gambling.
Sports Betting — The New Gold Rush
Sports betting is said to be the new gold rush. The PASPA was lifted back in 2018, and since then, states have been adapting their respective laws to legalize this type of entertainment. States that made wagering on sports legal in 2019 are Illinois, Michigan (also approved online poker and casinos), Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Moreover, Maine has passed a bill that aims to legalize this type of activity, and it will probably become active in early 2020. At the moment, a total of 42 states have either legalized or are working on legalizing sports betting.
In other words, US bettors will soon have an opportunity to place bets in virtually any state. The popularity of sports betting in the US is yet to grow, as the increasing number of people continue to join the hype.
Perhaps one of the biggest stories in the gambling world is the merger of Caesars and Eldorado. Caesars experienced huge financial troubles, and that’s when Carl Icahn jumped in to “help” the property.
He bought a lot of shares and implemented a strategy he always uses when he acquires a business — merging. Therefore, he pushed for a merger with another company, and many gave up along the way as the shareholders of Caesars didn’t want to agree to their offers. However, the only company that actually made a serious offer was Eldorado.
The negotiating process is almost complete, and the merger is basically underway. Once the two businesses merge, they will become the single biggest casino operator in the US, if not the world.
In fact, a single operator will be responsible for roughly 71,000 slots, 3,700 table games, and 51,000 hotel rooms across 60 properties. Both sides are well aware that it would be very difficult to manage so many properties, and Caesars decided to let go of some of the big ones to bring the numbers down a bit.
Las Vegas Landscape Changes
Las Vegas is not the only gambling center in the world anymore, and that’s why some of the operators decided to shift their focus elsewhere. MGM has been focusing on the Asian market, and they decided to sell the iconic property called Bellagio, as well as Circus Circus, which was sold quite recently.
In the process of bringing the number of casinos down, Caesars also had to let go of some of the most popular properties, with the most important one being Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Rio is popular because the World Series of Poker takes place there, and it seems the location might have to change in a couple of years.