Riding a roller coaster into the future


 

Thunderbolt Roller Coaster, Kennywood Park

Thunderbolt Roller Coaster, Kennywood Park.

A common theme for me is coincidence, coincidence of news; there are days when three of four articles tell a story, capture a moment and give us a very clear picture of a particular subject.  The 25th of April was one of those days; the articles appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Card Player Magazine, the Las Vegas Sun, Venture Beat and on the website Yogonet.

Taken together the articles summarize the recent history of gaming and offer a peak into its future.  Card Player does are really good job of detailing the expansion of casino gaming and other forms of commercial gambling in the last few years, Card Player calls this present moment the golden age of casino gambling.  The Los Angeles Times provides an illustration with an article on a sports wagering bill working its way through the California legislature.  There are already, according to Card Player, 1500 casinos in the United States, but states are still hungry for more revenues and gaming is a popular place these days to look and sports betting is one of the places to look for it, New Jersey is also debating a sports wagering bill.

Another place to look for more revenues is the internet, especially since the federal government announced in December its new view that only sports gambling online is illegal – that leaves lots of other possibilities.  IGT, the world’s largest slot machine company when announcing its first quarter financial results, prominently highlighted its increasing revenues from interactive gaming – social networking games online, not quite gambling, but a first step toward it.  Venture Beat in covering a gaming conference and expo in San Francisco dedicated to internet gambling says that is where gaming and gambling are going to become one – on social network sites like Facebook.

So there, all wrapped and tied with a bow you have it, some form of gambling has reached every state but Hawaii and Utah; and it continues to expand with more options in all of those 48 states.  However, the future is going to be online with a whole new array of wagering opportunities, such as video games where you can bet on your skills, or bet against another to see who is best or where you sit and watch and bet on other players,  like betting on boxing or a horse race.  We are in a headlong plunge into a brave new world of gambling, hang on; we are on a very fast roller coaster and it is going to be pretty scary at times.

 A Look At Casino Growth In The United States

When you factor in state debt and the pressure on lawmakers to create new jobs, it’s easy to see why the United States is in a golden age of casino expansion.

National – – The first casino opened in the United States in 1931. Today, there are nearly 1,500 that generated a total of $34.6 billion in gross gaming revenue in 2011.  Twenty years ago, just six states in the nation offered legalized land-based or riverboat casinos. Today, that number has grown to 22 states, and doesn’t include the 24 other states with Native American properties, card rooms, slot parlors or racinos. In fact, 10 states joined the casino race for the first time in the last five years alone. Of the 50 states, only Hawaii and Utah can claim to be wager free. All other states offer at least a lottery, card room, racetrack or riverboat, if not a fully functioning land-based casino. Julio Rodriguez, Card Player, 4-25-12

 Sports-betting bill advanced by Senate panel

Gamblers may one day be able to legally bet on Lakers and Dodgers games in California under a measure that moved forward Tuesday in the Legislature. The bill was approved unanimously by the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee on its way toward the Senate floor, but even if the Legislature enacts the measure, sports betting could not begin until the federal government also lifts a ban on the activity. Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Los Angeles) predicted the federal ban would be lifted and said his measure would mean significant new money for the state’s depleted treasury, stopping the cash from instead going to Nevada or other states exempted from the federal ban. Los Angeles Times, 4-25-12

 IGT says interactive gaming helps boost revenue

 IGT said revenue increased 13 percent to $541 million on a year-over-year basis, in part because of its $255 million purchase in January of Double Down Interactive LLC…The unit’s DoubleDown Casino on Facebook increased its user base by 24 percent in the quarter to 5.6 million people…The company posted a profit of $61.9 million…down from $69.6 million…operating income grew 10 percent to $144.2 million…Its installed base of devices at the end of the quarter was 56,100 machines worldwide, up 7 percent…lease and interactive revenue grew 11 percent to $300.4 million …Product sales increased 16 percent to nearly $241 million. Steve Green, Las Vegas Sun, 4-25-12

 Real online gambling and social network games are on a collision course

“Social gaming is obviously the coming thing and in some sense it has already arrived,” said Simon Burridge. “Social gaming meets [real gambling] is the high ground of the future.” – One of the biggest stories in tech and gaming this year is the coming collision of real online gambling and social-networking casino games. The enthusiasm for the intersection of social games and online gambling was obvious at the Global iGaming Summit & Expo, an annual event in its 12th year that is taking place this week in San Francisco. The conference drew twice as many people as it did a year ago,  mainly because of a step that the U.S. has taken toward legalizing online gambling at the state level. Dean Takahashi, Venture Beat, 4-25-12

 PokerStars to buy Full Tilt

National (Internet) – According to several reports circulating this afternoon, in an surprise move, industry-leader PokerStars has reached an agreement with the US DOJ to purchase long-time rival Full Tilt Poker and settle its outstanding legal matters. Part of the deal involves full repayment of all players still owed money after the closure of the Full Tilt site. Following the news that French investment group Groupe Bernard Tapie’s proposed deal to buy Full Tilt Poker has been derailed after both parties failed to agree terms regarding the repayment of player funds, it has emerged that PokerStars has reached an agreement to acquire its former competitor. Yogonet, 4-25-12

 

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3 Responses to “Riding a roller coaster into the future”


  1. 1 lynne rosner April 26, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I don’t know about this internet gambling and the casino industry meld just yet. Doesn’t a personable server and comp money put the party into the action? I could start a business where I come into your home and set up a gaming party, complete with food, beverage, servers and don’t forget a vital ingredient…talent. Maybe create a club… wait that sounds like a casino again. This is confusing me and who’s going to regulate?
    Twice as many people showing up at the IT Summit just might be that they needed some face time and atmosphere beyond the keyboard they live to sell.

  2. 2 Ken Adams April 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

    You are right, it is confusing – but it is still happening. Who regulates fantasy football, cell phone apps, video games or Facebook now? Of course all of the personal experiences add to the atmosphere, pinching the cocktail waitress on the bottom and such – but the video game/Cell phone app world functions very, very well without a single real person exchange.

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