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October 25, 2014

Global rise of land based casinos to fight online competition


With New York State voters being asked to approve the expansion of the state's existing gambling outlets, and after Governor Cuomo signs the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act, additional US states are looking to increase the volume of existing gambling outlets or to introduce new ones. These states, joining international countries from Japan to Bermuda and Sri Lanka to Russia, have all recently introduced, or are seeking the approval, more relaxed gambling regulations.

Allowing for the magnification of existing (or unveiling of new) laws will allow for extensive development in the area of legalized gambling. This new found enthusiasm regarding legalized gambling is motivated by the high yields of existing casinos, with states and governments looking to increase their income through job creation, tourism, tax revenues and more.

This trend joins the ongoing development of online casinos and gambling outlets, which have been steadily gaining in popularity over the last few years. Several online casinos are now open to gamblers from around the world, with some large, well-established sites – like British-based William Hill, which began as a local betting shop and grew to become a national chain as well as an international online casino – available in 175 countries around the world. Sites like these have been giving traditional casinos a run for their money, with many gamblers choosing to play from home and avoid the lengthy drives and expenses involved with reaching the closest nearby casino.

The chart shows the growth of online gambling market from 2003 (in billion dollars)

Casino Debate Continues in United States and Local Elections

The casino debate has infiltrated many local state and municipal election races this year, with several campaigns, from New York State to the city of Boston, almost entirely surrounding this topic. As constituents are split down the middle – with approximately 50% strongly supporting more legalized gambling and 50% opposing it bitterly – these decisions will have major implications on the way gambling is viewed in other states, and indeed, across the United States. Over the past few years, several introductions of new gambling laws have met with great success, as was the case in Ohio (click to read), and many legislatures are looking to recreate this success in their own back yards.

Online and Mobile Casino Bring Gambling Everywhere

Meanwhile, the online gambling world continues to thrive, with additional online casinos joining the veterans every day. Striving to provide a "lifelike casino experience", these sites offer a plethora of games, betting options, and financing methods designed to keep gamblers in their armchairs and out of the casinos down the road. With the advent of mobile apps offering similar luxuries, the competition gets tougher and tougher every day. Here too, online casinos like William Hill are offering their gamblers an on-the-go betting experience through mobile phones, truly lifting the betting debate above state lines and international borders and making it available anywhere, anytime.

Today is possible to play games like roulette from a mobile device

As states battle each other in the race for legalized gambling, the traditional casinos opening under these new regulations must face the increased, well-established competition in the online and mobile worlds. With a limited number of gamblers and only so much room for development, the competition is bringing casinos – both real and "lifelike" – to offer their gamblers increased incentives, from bonuses and drawings in the online world to on-site pampering and freebies (think of those giant all-you-can-eat buffets and comped drinks) in the real-life casinos.

While casinos have often been critically viewed and widely associated with their more detrimental elements, they are currently enjoying a renaissance throughout the United States and across the world. With more awareness towards the important contributions made by casinos – both online and physical – to local economies, tax gains, jobs and more, legislatures and constituents are viewing these gambling outlets as an important element of the state economy, with additional opportunities enjoyed by gamblers, operators and state citizens.

And as in any other industry, the growing competition means better odds for consumers, as casinos online and offline battle for every customer dollar and offer increased opportunities, better security and more exciting and alluring games and payouts. In a controlled environment and under state regulations, they also offer an unmatched opportunity to fortify the state budgets and contribute to their citizens' welfare.


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