Is the American Online Gambling Market a Bust?
The months leading up to the launch of regulated American online gambling were a time of breathless anticipation. Legal igaming was supposed to do everything from saving the Atlantic City casinos to pumping up business at land-based casinos in Nevada.
So how’s that been working out for everybody?
In the 15 months since Nevada became the first American state to offer legal internet poker, it would be safe to say the industry is off to a slow start.
According to a recent report by Ed Komenda at Vegasinc.com titled, Online Gaming Hasn’t Lived Up to its Hype, the Silver State’s online gambling operations only delivered $700,000 in tax revenues to state coffers. That figure is based off of $10.2 million in player wins.
The situation is even worse in Delaware where delays in ramping up igaming operations sucked all the air out of the state’s anticipated gambling revenue windfall.
Komenda reports that igaming made, “…no net contributions to the state budget in 2014.” That news is even worse given the fact that the state was expecting to take in around $7.5 million from the first year of legal internet casino gambling.
In New Jersey, things are looking a little better, but not much.
Garden State gaming proponents, and Wall Street analysts, suggested that online gambling would pull in $180 million in 2014. As of the end of Q1 2014, the state’s regulated online gaming business had only brought in around $9.3 million.
As result of the less-than-stellar start, analysts have revised their 2014 estimate down to $160 million; and even that seems overly optimistic.
So what’s going on here? Why aren’t the good people of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware embracing their newly earned right to legally gamble online?
One major hurdle they’re running into comes from their banks and credit card companies. According to Vegasinc, about 60% of all online gambling transactions in New Jersey were rejected by banks. That’s a huge chunk of potential players who probably won’t be returning to the virtual tables anytime soon.
If you’re a casino gambling affiliate, you probably have your own ideas about why American igaming is off to such a slow start.
Though New Jersey gambling regulators recognize the importance of casino affiliates as a market force, the licensing regulations they’ve imposed are a major headache for smaller affiliates.
It’s important to note that American market is still in its infancy and its entire potential player base comes from three states whose combine population is less than 5% the total U.S. population. (That’s one of the reasons Nevada and Delaware recently entered the nation’s first interstate online gambling compact.)
While it’s hard not blame online gambling proponents for their enthusiastic predictions, it’s also pretty clear that the red, white and blue online gambling market is going to take some time to mature.