Casinos in Delaware Complain of Toll of Mounting Competition for Gamblers
A topic we frequently touch upon in this space is the pinch that states all across the nation are feeling as they compete with their neighbors for what is proving for some to be a very precious resource: gambling dollars.
The story is a familiar one, and one that is playing out in regions all over the United States, because, even as states complain that there are too many land-based casinos aimed at too-few gamblers, more continue to be built.
The newest state to see its casino industry feeling the strain is Delaware, according to the news web site delaware.newszap.com. That state, however, at least has a potential way to generate new gambling-based revenue, as it is one of only three states in the country that has passed legislation to allow Internet gambling.
Casinos note drop-off since onset of recession
In a meeting held by the Delaware Lottery and Gaming Study Commission last week, the state’s three land-based casinos convened to report, essentially, on issues surrounding their businesses.
The competition for gambling revenue was a huge topic of conversation, particularly given that Delaware is situated not only close to New Jersey and its gaming center of Atlantic City, but also to Pennsylvania and Maryland, two Eastern states that have been making big pushes to expand land-based casino gambling within their borders. In fact, in 2012 Pennsylvania managed to usurp Atlantic City to become the second-largest gambling market in the United States.
But, according to representatives from Delaware’s casinos, another culprit that has been depressing revenue is the recession. Since gambling numbers dropped off at the onset of the financial crisis, they have yet to recover to pre-2008 figures.
“Spending on gaming has actually fallen post-recession,” said David Gregor, who serves as deputy secretary of finance for the Commission.
Gregor noted that patrons simply do not have excess money to spend as freely on gambling and other entertainments as they once did, a refrain being heard from Atlantic City to Las Vegas, where, despite a rebound in the sheer number of visitors, spending has remained stifled.
State hopes that iGaming will change the industry’s course
Betting in Delaware is far from a dying industry, however. The state is one of only three in the U.S. to have passed a law that will allow residents – and those visiting the state – to log onto real-money online gambling web sites. In Delaware, unlike in New Jersey and Nevada, the other two states that have passed similar legislation, the state lottery will be charged with overseeing the online gambling market.
The Delaware Lottery has appointed 888 in partnership with Scientific Games to provide an operating platform for the betting sites. The market there is expected to go live later on this fall, with a specific timeframe of late October currently being circulated.
Gaming industry experts and financial analysts have predicted that in states where online gambling has been regulated, the market has the potential to generate tens of millions of dollars in yearly revenue.
Whether Delaware, which will permit a comprehensive array of online casino games in addition to real-money online poker, will be able to rake in such figures remain to be seen. Population-wise, Delaware is quite small, with a total citizenry numbering less than a million people, and therefore is unlikely to produce the same sort of revenue that is predicted for New Jersey, where games will be going live at 9 a.m. on November 26th.
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