The gambling landscape in the United States is changing rapidly. With the legalization of sports betting following a Supreme Court decision in May to overturn the 1992 ban, many states are legalizing sports betting in their jurisdictions. The next big step forward for the sector looks set to be in the online space.
Potential for online casinos
Since the Supreme Court legalized sports betting, the likes of Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Jersey have quickly pushed through sports betting laws and opened up their offerings. Some decent results have been seen to date, especially with the college football and NFL seasons beginning in earnest.
While in most of these states everything is carried out at land-based casinos or through online offerings that are only accessible on the casino ground, New Jersey is eyeing up a more lucrative market.
Online gambling has been legal in the state since 2013, but many of the casinos in the area failed to see its potential and did not really embrace it. There were a dozen different casinos in Atlantic City at the time, with four of them deciding not to seek an online license.
In the next 12 months, three of them were forced to close their doors. While it wasn’t just their lack of acceptance for online gambling that led to these closures, it certainly played a significant role.
These days, there is no question as to whether or not you have an online offering in New Jersey – it has become a very popular option for gamblers. It is vital that the casinos even offer loyalty programs to reward regular online players. Now all of the casinos in Atlantic City have their own online offerings.
Some of the casinos put more resources into their online offering than others. It has been a useful way for the smaller casinos to be able to compete with the bigger casinos such as Caesar’s and the MGM Group.
These smaller casinos are never going to match the experience offered in their land-based counterparts when compared to the industry giants, but they can be a lot more competitive in an online environment.
Resorts casino’s online revenues, for example, make up 20% of their total annual revenues, with the industry average being around the 10% mark.
The Golden Nugget currently heads up this market, with 30% of its total revenues coming from online players.
Of course, the giant casinos are going to have a lower proportion of their revenue coming from online avenues, but in absolute terms, they are right there around what the smaller casinos take in online.
The legalization of sports betting provides a greater opportunity for both the smaller casino and the giant ones to fight it out in terms of market share. The bigger casinos can deal with the best sportsbook operators in the world to have more diverse offerings, whereas the smaller casinos will largely be reliant on competing in terms of the prices offered.
Sports betting is also more suited to online gambling than regular casino games. With table games such as roulette, poker and blackjack, there is a visceral feel to placing your bets on the table and having the cards in your hand. However, no such pleasures are derived from sports betting, which means a larger portion of people will place their sports wagers online rather than in person.
Notable recent developments
William Hill and FanDuel have officially launched their online sports betting offerings in New Jersey.
This means a total of five different online betting apps are currently available in the state. These are William Hill, Play SugarHouse, playMGM, FanDuel and Draft Kings.
William Hill had already been operating the sportsbooks at both Monmouth Park and Ocean Resort, whereas FanDuel was the operator at the Meadowlands. William Hill has a long history of providing a quality sportsbook offering throughout Europe and in Nevada, so there was not much fanfare.
FanDuel took a more non-traditional approach to its offering. These two apps were launched in time for the start of the college football and NFL seasons. There is a lot of sway behind FanDuel, as Paddy Power Betfair bought a majority stake in the company following the Supreme Court decision in May.
Pinnacle Entertainment has now opened up its sportsbook offering in Mississippi, being the provider in Ameristar Vicksburg. This is the first sportsbook it has have offered outside the state of Nevada, and it is called the End Zone Sports Book. Pinnacle will be looking to launch in various other areas in the future.