Light & Wonder’s head of government affairs believes there will be no further iGaming launches in 2024

Howard Glaser, director of government affairs at Light & Wonder, said he doesn’t expect any more iGaming state launches this year after Rhode Island went live this week.

Speaking at a gaming conference at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, New Jersey yesterday, Glaser told the audience that he expects a potential market boom in 2025, but cold water on progress in the remaining ten months of this year pour over.

Following Rhode Island’s launch this week, the Ocean State has joined Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia in establishing a legalized igaming market.

Glaser said lawmakers’ reluctance to address assembled audiences varies greatly from state to state.

Glaser also said Indiana backed away from legalizing online casinos after a top state official was indicted on casino-related allegations, while Iowa’s casinos are largely owned by local operators – not nationally known operators.

Opposition in New York, meanwhile, is being led by a powerful hotel and casino union that is insisting to lawmakers that legalizing online casinos will cost the state thousands of middle-class jobs.

Another stumbling block, Glaser added, is the “lack of unity within the casino industry on igaming.”

For example, at a hearing on the issue last week in Maryland, four casino operators in the state expressed support while the other two operators did not.

Still, Glaser said growing state budget deficits amid the end of ongoing federal subsidies due to the pandemic mean the long-delayed expansion phase of online casino gambling over the next few years is inevitable.

“What moves lawmakers is when the cost of not doing something is greater than the cost of doing it.”

“Then a politician takes action,” Glaser added, pointing out that elected officials tend to respond to only two stimuli — “pain” or “pleasure.”

“When states need money, they will raise it through a business they are already in – casino gaming – and turn on the digital channel,” he said.

When asked which states could join Rhode Island in 2024 – the first new online casino gambling state since 2021 – Glaser told gaming industry lobbyist and panel moderator Bill Pascrell III that the honest answer is “none.”

“Next year we will see progress in New York and Maryland, perhaps also in Louisiana, and perhaps also in Illinois and Maine,” Glaser concluded.

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