There’s an interesting article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week discussing the potential impact of Christie v. NCAA on Nevada. If other states can legalize sports betting, will it hurt revenue in Nevada books?
In short: no.
Not even a little?
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo doesn’t think so.
“I don’t think it will affect Nevada at all.”
That’s pretty blunt.
The win for all sportsbooks in Nevada last year was $248.8M. Split between various license holders, that’s (math … math … math) good but not hand-over-fist revenue.
Given declining gross gaming revenue in general, even incremental shrinkage isn’t a positive. But legalized sports betting is coming. From The Stars Group positioning itself as a player with the acquisition of Sky Bet to MGM CEO Jim Murren saying that he’s “very confident” that PASPA will be overturned, it’s just a matter of time.
Can it actually help revenue?
We’ve seen the analog with how a rising tide can raise all boats in the gambling world before: online poker.
The general fear in the early aughts was that the online poker boom would kill brick & mortar business (which says a lot, because poker rooms in Las Vegas in the late ‘90’s were as dead as the Dodo). The opposite happened. Poker room business boomed. The access to playing opened up the market. Expect the same impact with sportsbooks.
With legalized sports betting, more people have access. It also creates competition. Competition creates innovation. More people playing, more sportsbooks push innovative concepts to attract customers, and Las Vegas business booms.
We’ve seen it before, we’ll see it again.