September 2, 2020
Nevada’s reluctance to legalize online gambling could spell a major disaster for the State coffers in the near future. And the numbers clearly reaffirm this theory. The State’s gaming revenue between April and May 2020 is a measly $9.44 million. The figures are down 99% since the same period last year.
As Nevada casinos remained shut during the time, revenue came from the State’s sole mobile sports wagering platform. In comparison, New Jersey generated $178.4 million while the Pennsylvanian treasury grew richer by $108 million. The only difference is online casinos!
While New Jersey and Pennsylvania have multiple legal online wagering platforms offering slots and card games, Nevada continues to miss out on the opportunity. Age-old notions of digital gaming platforms diluting the brick-and-mortar casino business are baseless. The New Jersey and Pennsylvania story lay testament.
Ironically, most Nevada-based brick-and-mortar casinos are affiliated with online operators in other states. The only way to introduce the online revolution in Nevada is by coaxing physical establishments to spearhead the movement. An unlikely scenario at the moment!
Nevada is among the five American States where online gambling is legal. However, online casinos are only allowed to offer poker and sports wagering. It’s due to a lack of consensus between casino operators.
While Las Vegas Sands Corp. isn’t willing to budge from its decade-long stand against implementing online gambling in the State. The billionaire media mogul, Barry Diller, recently purchased a 12% stake in MGM Resorts, eyeing its interactive gaming business. Unless this vast divide is bridged soon, Nevada’s situation is unlikely to improve.
If the state gaming regulators decide to implement online gambling, the legal framework is already in place. The Gaming Control Board has explicitly expressed desires to regulate online gaming if casino operators wish to reconcile their decision.
The Board’s July report shows a massive jump in revenue compared to June 2020, but the figures are still a long way off from July 2019. At the same time, casinos across the Strip generated $756.8 million in gaming revenue in this year’s first fully-operational month. Total revenue during the same period last year was a mammoth $1.02 billion.
Among the numerous localities where the Board sources its data, the Reno area of Sparks recorded a 3% growth since July 2019. In comparison, revenue from Washoe and Clark counties was up 16.5% and 6.2%, respectively. Month-over-month data further reveal a steady revenue growth ever since lockdown restrictions were lifted.
It’s no surprise the Vegas Strip relies on tourists for revenue. The situation will remain grim as long as air travel restrictions aren’t completely lifted. However, operators are hopeful of a full recovery as resorts continue to reopen, and tourists flock to casinos once again.
A majority of whom are arriving by road. The situation will further improve following a successful COVID-19 vaccine trial.
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