With the latest report describing the continuing decline of Las Vegas’ revenues, it’s becoming more clear that the increased popularity of online gambling in the United States is one of the main reasons why land-based casino revenues in the U.S. continue to fail, even though the country’s economic situation is said to be improving.

That report, dealing with info compiled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (as part of an annual survey), showed that “the number of people who came primarily to hit the casinos dropped to 9 percent last year from 13 percent in 2009,” writes Tim O’Reiley for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“At the same time, the average wagering budget of $466.20 marked a 3 percent decline from 2009 and 28 percent from 2006,” O’Reiley continues.

What’s remarkable about those figures is that 2010 was hoped to be a year of recovery. Indeed, even as other parts of the American economy struggled back to life in 2009 and 2010, Las Vegas (and Atlantic City) continues to struggle.

People are still gambling, so why does Las Vegas refuse to recover from its economic doldrums? Why does Vegas still suffer, even as most “other categories of spending showed improvments [sic] from 2009, when the economy seems to have hit bottom,” per the Press of Atlantic City?

The answer, as some see it, is Internet gambling. But the biggest factor that the Press cites as the thorn in Vegas’ side — online gambling — can prove just as discouraging to the New Jersey-based casino industry.

As we’ve pointed out here before at Casino Affiliate Programs, many believe that online gambling steals market share from land-based gaming, because online gambling is more convenient (no travel time required) and less expensive (no hotel or travel expenses required) than a Vegas vacation — even allowing for Las Vegas’ current bargain basement prices.

“Las Vegas, known worldwide as a gambling mecca, has continued to become less attractive to gamblers,” reports the Press of Atlantic City — a publication that unquestionably has a horse in the race of what American state should lead the casino industry.

Online gambling regulations could help Vegas, by letting it profit from online gambling’s “promises of jobs, increased tax dollars and the potential of technology businesses locating to Nevada,” as the Press article puts it.

The big picture
But the road to regulations in the U.S. has been slow, and until land-based casinos can turn the online gambling popularity surge to their advantage, this trend is likely to continue.

Nobody wants to see any businesses fail, particularly one as close to the hearts of casino affiliates as the Las Vegas gambling machine. Yet, the signs do indicate that the slump spells opportunity for those in the Internet casino business — and casino affiliate marketers are certainly among them.

(Plus, Vegas’ continued slide means great deals for budget travelers — and that’s a great incentive to check out May’s iGaming North American conference, to be held at the Palazzo Las Vegas. Get the details on that event — and the special discount from Casino Affiliate Programs — here.)

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