Atlantic City Eyes Mobile Market

Written By Janice Doughtrey

Internet gambling is predicted to take off in the coming years as more consumers in the United States use tablets and smartphones to access online gambling websites. Participants at one of the biggest gambling conferences in the world, the East Coast Gaming Conference, agreed that Internet gambling has made big strides in the U.S. market, but it only generates a fraction of revenue compared to its true potential.

According to Lusia Woods, executive director of Internet marketing at Atlantic City’s famous Tropicana Casino, agreed that Internet gambling is complimenting off-line sales. She claimed that gambling on the Internet prompted consumers to visit physical casinos. Likewise, the cross-flows of players between physical casinos and online gambling sites is also increasing rapidly.

One of the reasons that Internet casinos face a multitude of challenges is the limited regulatory permission allowed to gamble online, in the United States. As of 2016, only three states in the country allow Internet gambling. By far, the largest of the States is New Jersey, which accounted for $148 million in revenues from a total of $160.7 million generated last year. In fact, the only proceeds from Nevada are approximate $10 million, generated from the poker-only market.

Perhaps, the industry needs to market itself to potential clients in these States. For instance, Itai Pazner, the senior vice president of 888 Holdings, lamented that people don’t know if Internet gambling is legally allowed in their states. As such, most potential gamblers think that Internet gambling is illegal throughout the United States. She reiterated that people are surprised to learn that New Jersey and a couple of other U.S. states allow Internet gambling in their respective localities. Therefore, the online gambling industry needs to educate customers.

Interestingly, lack of awareness is one of the many challenges that promoters must face. Recently, the casino tycoon, Sheldon Adelson vowed to spend as much as possible to pass legislation that would ban Internet gambling, across the United States. The lobbying partially works due to the presence of many off-shore casinos, which encourages U.S. customers to participate in illegal gambling, abroad. Accordingly, many of these offshore gambling websites don’t offer consumer protection, which allows billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his supports to thwart promotion efforts of the online gambling industry in the United States.

Among the major agenda of the East Coast, Gaming Conference was to convince other U.S. states to allow Internet gambling. Due to the small size of Internet gambling, the liquidity in the marketplace is still very small compared to the physical casinos. Due to the small liquidity and sponsorship, the relevant size of the prize is very small. However, conference attendants were upbeat on the future potential of the Internet gambling in the United States as they seek to replicate the success of Internet casinos in Europe. As such, George Rower, deputy director of New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement, was adamant in declaring that Internet gambling is poised to grow as awareness grows among the general public. Similarly, as individual U.S. states take a firm stance on dealing with laws about offshore gambling, Internet gambling is likely to thrive.