Long before the global pandemic hit and threw our everyday way of life into an unknown black hole, a shift was already well underway in the U.S. gambling industry as the future became clearly a mobile one.
It’s already a cliché, but the global pandemic health crisis has accelerated the shift from an analogue world to a digital one and the gambling industry is not immune. The best gaming companies are going a step further by enhancing their digital presence.
It’s creating a ‘haves and have-nots’ dichotomy where states already legislated for legalized online gaming are leaping ahead of the states yet to legislate. Legal online gaming states are able to build better and make faster decisions for their gaming residents and strengthen links with their gaming customers in something approaching real time.
Let’s examine the state of play in the digital evolution (or not) of the current U.S. gambling industry.
Online Casinos and Sportsbooks On The Rise
Colorado have already attracted the world’s largest online sportsbook company to work within the state lines of the Mile High State, and FanDuel has come to terms with the Denver Broncos to set up the first agreement between an online sportsbook and an NFL team.
Other states like Illinois that is not yet as fully evolved as Colorado, has previously required potential online players to go to a land-based casino to sign-up for an online sportsbook account. Illinois’ lawmakers took what for them is a revolutionary step and allowed their first online sportsbook as a direct result of bricks-and-mortar casinos being closed down.
Retail Bricks-and-Mortar Slowly Reopen Across The Nation
June has seen a trickle of land-based sportsbooks and casinos beginning to reopen their doors for business in a limited regard. Both Nevada (Las Vegas) and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) casinos have begun operation again this month with the Keystone State’s casinos in Philadelphia expected to be given the reopening green light in July.
On the other hand, the New Jersey bricks-and-mortar casino industry based exclusively out of Atlantic City, have not yet revealed any official reopening dates, although the 4 July holiday weekend could see the casinos throwing open their doors for business.
What remains to be seen is whether customers will want to attend land-based retail casinos and sportsbooks straight off the bat. Other soothsayers believe that the bricks-and-mortar retail sportsbook and casino may never recover to its former glory, primarily, as destination travel including gambling tourism could take years to come back as airlines downsize operations and in some extreme cases, completely close down for good.
Online Casinos & Sportsbooks Will Change And Adapt Too
If that nightmare scenario plays out for the bricks-and-mortar gambling industry, online casinos are poised to pick up the slack. As already discussed, some states are better placed than others to profit from that scenario, while others face a potential revenue bubble burst due to lack of political will and adaptability.
States that can act with urgency, openness and embrace agile methods as Colorado did are set to profit. However, there may well be even more agile adaptations afoot for the online gambling industry.
Players who have become accustomed to betting online over the last 3-4 months may not feel inclined to visit brick-and-mortar casinos once they reopen — unless they grow dissatisfied with online providers’ services and online gambling services appear set to reinvent themselves.
Online casinos and sportsbooks could be set to enable seamless real-time payments to keep up the positive momentum and simulate the excitement of casinos by paying winners in the moment as they would in a land-based casino, creating their own instant gaming experiences.
It’s an exciting future.